I realise that you are probably fed up of hearing the word ‘COVID-19’ or ‘coronavirus’ on any form of media and so if you hoping to escape the virus on thinkingcountry I apologise. However, it wouldn’t seem right to reflect back on the week without mentioning it at all. At the time of writing the total number of cases across the world is 139,668 (active cases 63,813) with China making up 80,815 of these, Italy 15,113 and the UK now 798, that’s an increase of 208 domestic cases. Retailers are doing all they can to keep shelves stacked as the inevitable panic buying of pasta, rice, canned foods and toilet rolls continues. Small businesses are being hit already both from a raw materials point of view and the risk of staff going sick and many are wondering what will happen if the situation continues for a few months? At the moment nobody has any real answers and the only option we have is to keep washing hands, avoiding those who have the virus and taking any other reasonable measures. Life has to continue, but we will adapt.
One real positive this week is that the weather has been far less wet than recent weeks and the ground can begin the process of drying up. I cannot wait for the day we see spring crops being drilled on the farm and the building projects we have lined up can also begin. Mind you, with the weather we have had, anything could still happen, so it’s a matter of wait and see. I’ve ordered seeds for the greenhouse and vegetable garden (looking forward to starting with raspberry growing this year as well) and we’re also looking to crack on with some tree planting and sea buckthorn planting on the farm this month. Spring doesn’t feel very far away, but in reality there is still a while to wait.
Conservation tasks this week included making a nesting platform to go by the saline lagoon and new saltmarsh on the farm. The hope is that it will attract Little Egrets but we will see. Spare cash permitting I will invest in a camera for the site and will place updates on the thinkingcountry facebook page.
General Countryside News
- This week we learned of the aspiration to create a new ‘Welsh National Forest’ running the length and breadth of the country. £15million would be available to achieve the project, although there is currently no definitive map or plan.
- BUDGET – We had Rishi Sunak’s first budget and there were sighs of relief from farmers when they learned that they would be exempt from the fuel duty changes to red diesel (fishing, railways and domestic heating also exempt).
- BUDGET – General motorists were also happy to see the freeze on fuel duty rates retained for another year.
- BUDGET – Anti-flood spending was doubled, with an additional £5.6 billion over the next six years – good news for those at risk but still questions of whether this is sufficient.
- BUDGET – the ‘nature for climate fund’ (£640 million) will encourage more tree planting and peat bog restoration.
- BUDGET – £2 million was given for improving evidence on fly tipping and how to tackle it.
- A Countryside coalition has come together to call on there being more emphasis in tackling hare coursing.
I hope you all have a good weekend.
See you next week.