There have been massive crop failures this year in both the USA and in Russia due to severe droughts and changing weather patterns across the World, which will inevitably have knock on effects on food prices. The world could be facing a much less certain future in terms of food supply.
This was reported on BBC Radio 2 days ago but does not appear on BBC news on the internet for some reason. There is a very useful link to the Al Jazeerah Website here if you want to find out what is really happening.
This only serves to emphasise, if any is needed, that we really cannot afford to keep burying Grade 1 & 2 agricultural/greenfield land under concrete. The World’s population is predicted to reach 9 Billion by 2050 and that of the UK is also predicted to continue rising.
Grade 1 & 2 Agricultural land should be held as almost sacred because it is essential for growing food for both humans and animals. New land is not being made any more. Every acre or hectare that is used for building on means one less for feeding the world.
The areas of Greenfield land under threat around the Villages in the Arun DC Draft Local Plan are all Grade 1 & 2 agricultural land. This land needs to be protected and carefully conserved for your children and for their children. Food does not grow in Supermarkets. It is also no good relying on food imports because they can fluctuate depending on fuel prices and the stability or not of other countries. We should strive to be as self sufficient as possible in our food production. That way we would really begin to value our land and we may come to realise how important it is to our survival.
Some important facts to inform you about farming and food growing.
The Grade 1 & 2 land under threat, wherever the road or houses are planned, is very, very productive. It is some of the very best wheat growing land in the UK. It can produce up to 10 to 11 tons of very good quality wheat (Group 1 milling wheat) per hectare per year. The average land can only manage 6 tons. Grade 1 & 2 land is priceless. If 1 hectare of land is used to build houses, that is approx 25 houses. Say, that these houses would hold about 60 people on average. This means 60 more mouths to feed every year for the future and you have just lost a wheat production of 11 tons per year permanently. This calculation should scare you.
How much longer can we go on using up irreplaceable greenfield farmland so that large Building companies can make huge profits from the sale of houses that local people generally do not want ? Of course, houses should be built to provide homes for local families and to cope with natural population growth. The Option 1 figure of 400 houses per annum does achieve this according to many recent data surveys.
The addendum to this is that these houses should be built in more suitable locations which would not use up such a precious and irreplaceable resource.
A very recent article in the Daily Telegraph on Food Security for the future may be downloaded here. It is called “Dig for Survival”.