Fen project will lose £47m of food a year
IT is interesting to note that the East of England Development Agency has seen fit to award another wedge of cash to the Great Fen Project, bringing its total grants of our money to £923,300 ( Grant for study of Great Fen , July 2). This is to fund a stud
IT is interesting to note that the East of England Development Agency has seen fit to award another wedge of cash to the Great Fen Project, bringing its total grants of our money to £923,300 ("Grant for study of Great Fen", July 2). This is to fund a study to calculate how this project would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Perhaps they could save our money and read the study just completed by Natural England, a partner in the Great Fen project. According to their own audit, cows on dairy farms have the highest emissions, producing the equivalent of 10 tonnes of CO2 per hectare, while cereals have the lowest at just two tonnes per hectare. And what are the Great Fen managers in their wisdom planning to replace cereals in the fen with? You guessed it, cows.
At a councillors' meeting with the Great Fen partners on the June 6, local ward member Councillor Peter Mitchell estimated that some 105,000 tonnes of agricultural produce with a retail value of £47 million per year would be lost from 7,000 acres north of New Dyke, putting local farmers out of business in the project area.
One must question under what part of EEDA's remit to help economic regeneration in our region this grant fits, to help fund a scheme which will remove some £47 million worth a year of food production from Huntingdonshire.
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My suggestion is that EEDA would be better advised to fund a study to find out how this loss of agricultural production from the Great Fen area will be replaced, at a time when we are facing a global food crisis.
Last week, NFU president Peter Kendall, speaking at the Royal Show, stated that our ability to produce food in the UK is currently taking second place to the environmental and climate change agenda. The time has come to put agriculture back as the priority in a world running out of food.
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Our land in Huntingdonshire is literally some of the best in the world for food production and it should be our priority to see that it continues do just that. We have a moral and economic duty to feed ourselves, remembering that global food demand may double by 2050, on a shrinking arable area.
Councillor PHILIP GODFREY
Huntingdonshire District Council