Countryside wishes for the new year

THE North Regional Director of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has set out her wishes for a happier and more prosperous new year for rural residents and businesses.

Among the items on Dorothy Fairburn’s 2013 wish-list are CAP reform, a determination to tackle disease and better weather.

She said: “The best outcome for CAP reform in 2013 is a fair and sensible deal for northern farmers and land managers that enables them to compete on a level playing field with their European counterparts.

“It is vital the postponed badger cull goes ahead in the summer of 2013 to help combat the scourge of bovine TB.

“This terrible disease not only affects rural businesses, but it also has a devastating emotional impact on the people involved.

“The arrival of ash dieback in our cherished rural landscapes has brought home the importance of developing more effective plant import control measures to ensure our trees and woodlands are not subject to attack by another new tree pest or disease.

“Although weather conditions were exceptional in 2012, the continued reduction of the Environment Agency maintenance budget has compounded the flooding of land and damage to crops.

“The Government must address the impact flooding has on land and give consideration to our long-term food and environmental security needs.

“My wish for 2013 is for more manageable weather for the farmers who produce our food and other rural businesses which rely on tourism.”