Rural crime top of chairman’s agenda

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The chairman of an organisation that represents landowners is putting reducing rural crime top of his list for 2014.

The chairman of the Northamptonshire branch of the CLA, John Farr, is also putting woodland management on his agenda for next year.

Mr Farr said: “Rural crime is an important issue and I will be working closely with Northamptonshire Police to make sure crimes such as hare coursing, which is a major problem in our area, and fly tipping are efficiently dealt with.

“It is important for members to report all rural crime, however trivial it may appear.

“There is a range of deadly diseases, pests and conditions threatening our woodlands, and the need to give them the strength to recover and regenerate has become a priority.

“The reality is that there is no cure for diseases such as ash dieback, so we will have to learn to live with them. But we can work to give woodlands the best possible chance of survival by keeping them as strong and as healthy as we can.

“We must try to ensure that even if we lose trees, entire woods do not disappear from our landscape. This would be helped by growing together a wider variety of trees in a range of ages, and ideally mixing broadleaves and conifers. Thus if one species were to be lost others might well survive.”

Mr Farr also said that he was concerned with the reform of water licences and hoped that the case for the need for water in agriculture was forcefully made.

“Water is the life blood of eco systems; farmers must be able to store water by building on-farm reservoirs and there should be no radical change in abstraction licensing in the Water Bill,” he said.

“Water management is a problem for everyone. With pressure on supplies, much needs to be done to educate householders on the true value of water and to encourage more responsible usage across the whole of society, including farmers.”