Links and references to articles by the leading UK news providers covering subjects that are of interest to those living and working in rural England and Wales.
'It sounds bonkers but we should embrace a land tax'
Conservative MP Nicholas Boles writes that a proposed land tax should be given support to encourage more development on brownfield sites and in run-down inner cities. He adds the land tax would not apply to farmland or people's main income.
Financial Times - 30 September 2011 - 15
A crucial moment in the planning debate
The Telegraph View on the current state of the planning debate is that "we are now approaching the point where those fine words need to be translated into changes to the policy, establishing a planning system that balances the competing demands for one of this country’s scarcest resources – our land – without giving undue weight to the self-interest of any particular faction".
Daily Telegraph - 30 September 2011 - 29
Letters to the Editor on the planning debate including one from Lord Rooker that lists the percentages of designated land and concludes that only one percent of land is needed to solve the actual and perceived housing and other development issues.
Daily Telegraph - 30 September 2011 - 29
Tory MP risks ' career suicide' with backing land tax
Conservative MP Nick Boles writes in the Financial Times today that he believes the Party should back Liberal Democrat calls for a land tax.
Financial Times - 30 September 2011 - 3
Broadband ads slowed down
Telecoms companies will face tighter rules on how they advertise broadband services, ensuring they do not inflate claims of the top speeds that consumers will receive.
Financial Times - 29 September 2011 - 4
Guy Ritchie drops solar panels plan for country estate
Film director Guy Ritchie has withdrawn plans to install 200 solar panels on his Wiltshire estate after concerns raised by the local council's ecologists.
Daily Telegraph - 29 September 2011 - 11
A letter to the Editor says that it is greener and more sustainable to refurbish existing housing stock than build in the countryside but that the Government makes this difficult because of the VAT imposed on refurbishment and repair.
The Times - 29 September 2011 - 30
Yorkshire's Roses revenge as Dales get Lancashire land
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is to get more Lancashire land within its boundary after Natural England approved the proposal to add 162 square miles of Lancashire and a small part of Cumbria to the Dales.
Daily Telegraph - 29 September 2011 - 2
'Send developers into towns, not the country'
Alice Thomson writes that the new planning laws "threaten to suck the life out of our ailing towns".
The Times - 28 September 2011 - 22
Farmers evicts topless Rihanna
A Northern Irish farmer who allowed the pop singer Rihanna to film a music video in his field told her off for "inappropriate" behaviour.
The Times - 28 September 2011 - 19
Poacher is snared by Facebook
A poacher from County Durham has been convicted after a picture of him posing with a hare appeared on Facebook.
Daily Telegraph - 28 September 2011 - 6
Brand new dairy for Arla
Arla Foods has been given the green light by planners to build a £150million dairy in Aylesbury.
The Times - 27 September 2011 - 39
Fish choke in mine leak pollution
The Environment Agency is investigating how six miles of the River Neath in South Wales turned orange. It is thought the pollution is iron ore leaked from an old mine.
Daily Telegraph - 27 September 2011 - 10
Out of line
A feature on primogeniture.
The Times 2 - 27 September 2011 - 4
Red tape scepticism
Red tape for companies has been cut by more than £3billion in 2011 but business leaders have accused the Government of failing to stem the flow of new regulation.
Financial Times - 27 September 2011 - 1
Wildflowers increase population of bees
Trials by the Co-operative Farms have found that 14 times as many bees preferred strips of wildflowers over adjacent hedgerows and grass margins this summer.
Daily Telegraph - 27 September 2011 - 34
Cage fighting at Alnwick Castle
Locals are said to be outraged by the Duchess of Northumberland's plan to stage a televised cage fighting tournament in the grounds of Alnwick Castle.
Sunday Times - 26 September 2011 - 3
Green Belt land is 'not safe' from developers
A letter to the Editor says that Huddersfield council is dealing with a planning proposal for the development of 642 acres of Green Belt land between the town and the M62. Another letter from the former chairman of a parish planning committee that says developers modify their proposals until they are accepted, and since leaving post over five years ago all the proposals that were “in abeyance” at the time have since been passed.
Sunday Telegraph - 26 September 2011 - 29
Green sites to be lost under 300,000 homes
From Durham to Bristol, Merseyside to Kent, more than 230 big projects are in the planning pipeline waiting for council or inspectors to give the go-ahead, according to the Sunday Times.
Sunday Times - 26 September 2011 - 8
Red squirrel could vanish in 20 years
A new report by Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit has revealed that certain species could be extinct on mainland Britain within 20 years and blames intensive farming.
Sunday Times - 26 September 2011 - 13
Broadband bills and service speed
A letter to the Editor that says those in the countryside are being seriously disadvantaged by the inability of the telephone system to provide broadband connections at adequate speeds.
The Times - 23 September 2011 - 35
Ministers water down reforms intended to ease planning law
Ministers have signalled a partial retreat over the Government's planning reforms with Greg Clark saying he would "consider changing the wording" of the draft NPPF to make it clearer.
The Times - 23 September 2011 - 5
MPs warn on failure to overhaul Whitehall
Key policies on public service reform, localism and the Big Society "will fail" according to some MPs because the coalition is reluctant to undertake comprehensive reform of the civil service.
Financial Times - 23 September 2011 - 2
Norfolk Broads under attack by alien plants
The delicate ecosystem of the East Anglian waterways is at risk from invasive species such as Himalayan balsam that is choking native flora and fauna.
Daily Telegraph - 23 September 2011 - 38
Rural growth and planning
A letter to the Editor from the Presidents of the CLA, NFU and CAAV in support of proposed planning reform because it recognises the necessity of growth in rural areas.
The Times - 23 September 2011 - 35
Letters to the Editor say that the existing planning system does not work for the individual seeking changes to property as there is “much bureaucracy weighted against the applicant”. Another letter fears a planning proposal to build 2,000 new homes near an AONB in Suffolk but says the National Trust's campaign has given the existing villagers hope.
The Times - 22 September 2011 - 31
Planning reforms won't solve house builders' problems, says minister
The case for planning reform has been “further undermined” by Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin who said it is not the law that is the main obstacle to building more houses, but lack of demand for homes and problems for developers raising finance.
Daily Telegraph - 22 September 2011 - 4
Empty homes to face extra council tax
Owners of second homes, buy-to-let properties and those awaiting renovation left empty for long periods could be made to pay extra council tax under plans being drawn up by ministers.
Daily Telegraph - 21 September 2011 - 4
Nature 'at risk' from planning reforms
Local sites important to nature could be threatened by government reforms to the planning system, according to the Wildlife Trust.
Financial Times - 21 September 2011 - 4
A letter to the Editor from National Trust members that says they joined to "enjoy historic properties and not to campaign against planning reform". It suggests the NT chairman "should ensure it is representative of its membership while remaining within the parameters of its charitable remit".
The Times - 21 September 2011 - 26
A letter to the Editor that highlights the divides in rural poverty.
The Times - 21 September 2011 - 26
Walkers lose access to Dartmoor tor
A planning inquiry has ruled in favour of Mary Alford [CLA member] who put up fences to keep walkers out of her land around Vixen Tor in Devon.
Daily Telegraph - 21 September 2011 - 15
'Their backyards are safe - what about yours?'
Chairman of the National Trust Simon Jenkins writes that it is not the planning system that is stifling development but "self-serving property tycoons".
The Times - 20 September 2011 - 24
Berries overtake apples as our favourite fruit
Berries have become Britain's favourite fruit, a new report has revealed.
Daily Telegraph - 20 September 2011 - 7
Deer stalker support is 'long overdue'
Stalkers have gained some "long overdue recognition" for their work controlling deer numbers by Natural England.
Daily Telegraph - 20 September 2011 - 32
Foragers reduce acorn threat to new Forest ponies
Hundreds of pigs have been let loose in the New Forest to eat up a bumper crop of acorns and eat apples that can be harmful to resident ponies.
Daily Telegraph - 20 September 2011 - 7
Ministers defy council decisions
Ministers have authorised the construction of more than 6,000 homes against the wishes of elected councillors since the general election, according to government data - undermining the coalition's claim to be a champion of "localism".
Financial Times - 20 September 2011 - 3
Planning regulations and economic growth
A letter to the Editor from the Chief Executive of CPRE that says the Government should stop viewing the planning row as "a battle it has to win" and instead "start listening to the serious concerns raised by countless individuals and organisations across England".
The Times - 20 September 2011 - 27
Bad news for sheep farmers
A 1,500-strong sheep flock has been spirited away from a Lincolnshire field in what is believed to be the biggest case of rustling in Britain in modern times.
Sunday Times - 18 September 2011 - 1
Bodger Greg's planning rules are crumbling
Charles Clover summarises the Conservative "bodge" over planning policy proposals.
Sunday Times - 18 September 2011 - 23
Clegg's green speech doesn't go to plan
CPRE has written to Nick Clegg to remind him of a 2008 speech in which he said: "Our plans for land must always be green. Fixing the economy must never come at the expense of protecting the environment."
Sunday Telegraph - 18 September 2011 - 6
Conker trees saved by blue tits
The blue tit is eating the invasive caterpillars of the leaf miner moth helping to save the threatened horse chestnut tree.
Sunday Times - 18 September 2011 - 9
Eleven dogs hit by new outbreak of Sandringham superbug
A mystery seasonal illness that can kill dogs has returned to the Queen's estate at Sandringham.
Mail on Sunday - 18 September 2011 - 52
Ministers have caved in, say village green lovers
Ministers have been accused of caving in to developers' demands by proposing changes to the rules protecting village greens so that residents may find it almost impossible to obtain conservation status.
Mail on Sunday - 18 September 2011 - 14
Wildlife disappearing as water firms shrink rivers
Britain rivers are disappearing as utility companies drain billions of gallons from vulnerable waterways destroying ecosystems, according to figures from the Environment Agency.
Sunday Times - 18 September 2011 - 9
'Mansion tax should be used instead of planning reforms'
A letter to the Editor from a member of the Green Party says that house prices could be brought down with land value taxation and a mansion tax on capital gains from high-value property sales, the revenue from which could fund a new era of public house-building".
Financial Times - 15 September 2011 - 14
Birds of prey found poisoned on moors
Four golden eagles were among 29 birds illegally poisoned last year, according to the latest annual report by RSPB Scotland.
Daily Telegraph - 15 September 2011 - 38
Food scraps could make 'green' fuels and plastics
Food waste could be harvested to make key chemicals, fuels and materials and reduce dependence on oil, according to scientists at York University.
Daily Telegraph - 15 September 2011 - 12
Minister criticises BT for delay
BT has been criticised by Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, for taking too long to tell its competitors how much they must pay to gain access to its broadband infrastructure.
Financial Times - 15 September 2011 - 2
Ministers’ areas 'sitting ducks’ for builders
Rural areas in the constituencies of David Cameron and senior ministers will be “sitting ducks” for developers under new planning rules, government adviser Adrian Penfold, head of planning at British Land, has warned. He said councils could be left powerless to stop development unless they update their local planning guidelines.
Daily Telegraph - 15 September 2011 - 4
Planning row minister backs reforms at event sponsored by builder
Planning Minister Greg Clark is facing renewed criticism over his relationship with the house-building industry after it emerged he will speak in favour of the reforms at an event sponsored by Taylor Wimpey, one of Britain's biggest property developers.
The Times - 15 September 2011 - 22
The merits of meat and humane husbandry
A letter from the NFU's chief livestock adviser that says "Britain's grazing land can only be productively managed with livestock so will always have an important role in allowing our pastures to produce healthy, tasty and sought-after meat products which remain very good value for money". A second letter from a reader in Northumberland says that here, the crop that grows best is grass and people can't eat grass, so animals which can are reared for people to eat so the nation will never become vegetarian.
The Guardian - 15 September 2011 - 37
Conifers to be cut to revive ancient trees
Ancient Sussex woodland is to be revived by cutting down huge Christmas trees.
Daily Telegraph - 14 September 2011 - 34
Sorry, Liz, but it’s we farmers who are in danger
Former dairy farmer Paul Buxton, of Derbyshire, puts Daily Mail fashion writer Liz Jones right on the numerous inaccuracies in an article she wrote on dairy farming and public payments!
Daily Mail - 14 September 2011 - 47
Slop buckets 'fail to cut food waste'
Plans to bring in slop buckets in every home are under fire after a survey found that households forced to use the system did not report a reduction in food waste.
Daily Telegraph - 13 September 2011 - 5
Huhne in 50 pence tax row
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has sparked a coalition disagreement on the 50 pence tax rate, warning that any move to abolish the levy would be a way of helping the Tories' friends in the City "put their feet up".
Financial Times - 12 September 2011 - 1
Huhne joins in tax row
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has said if the 50 pence income tax rate is scrapped by the Coalition "high earners should face a mansion tax".
The Times - 12 September 2011 - 17
Little evidence to back ministers' planning defence
A letter to the Editor says that "there is little solid evidence that Britain's planning system obstructs investment and local enterprise" and that the key weakness of the planning proposals is the equation of "growth" with "sustainability".
Financial Times - 12 September 2011 - 14
Charles Clover on planning
Charles Clover writes on planning reforms and describes the National Planning Policy Framework as a "shocker".
Sunday Times - 11 September 2011 - 21
Nation to inherit famed garden
Laskett in Herefordshire, the largest private formal garden created since the second world war, is to be bequeathed to the National Trust.
Sunday Times - 11 September 2011 - 5
Simon Wolfson, Conservative peer and chief executive of Next writes that we can have jobs and green fields.
Sunday Times - 11 September 2011 - 10
A letter to the Editor from a professional chartered town planner that says "there are no proposals in the draft national planning policy framework that will harm national parks, the Green Belt or listed buildings" and that "no other country in the world would put up with our current planning laws".
Sunday Telegraph - 11 September 2011 - 25
Rich harvest for farming quango chief
Kevin Roberts, former chief executive of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has come under fire for receiving £218,000 in s redundancy pay-off and then walking straight into the role of director general at the NFU.
Sunday Times - 11 September 2011 - 6
Wimpey director wrote Tories' new planning law
Senior figures in the housebuilding industry, including an executive from Taylor WImpey, were recruited by the Government to draft new planning rules, according to The Sunday Times.
Sunday Times - 11 September 2011 - 1
Cameron rejects calls for 50 pence rate to end early
Downing Street and senior Lib Dems have poured cold water on calls from leading economists for an early abolition of the 50 pence top rate of tax.
Financial Times - 8 September 2011 - 3
Farmers get in over their heads trying to save sheep
Two farmers got trapped up to their necks in water as they battled to save more than 100 sheep from flooded fields in the Conwy Valley, Wales.
The Times - 8 September 2011 - 26
Fifty pence tax rate 'staying for now'
Downing Street made clear yesterday that there would be no decision on removing the 50 pence rate of tax this year as official figures suggested that the band would raise almost £13billion over five years.
The Times - 8 September 2011 - 23
Green light for 167 marine no-go areas around coast
More than one hundred ecologically important areas of England's coastline will be protected if recommendations presented today are accepted by the Government.
The Times - 8 September 2011 - 27
National Trust seeks planning assurance
The National Trust has rebuffed a ministerial invitation to start talks on the coalition's planning reforms until it gets an assurance from "the highest levels of government" that the measures will not be aimed principally at boosting economic development.
Financial Times - 8 September 2011 - 4
Role of legislation and councils in environmental protection
Several letters to the Editor about the role of councils and their local plans in the planning debate.
The Times - 8 September 2011 - 33
Sea areas chosen to be nature reserves
Much of the sea around the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly, major estuaries and islets off the east coast, as well as reefs, trenches, sandbars and remote places seldom seen by humans, are included in a list of 127 sea areas that have been proposed as new English marine conservation zones.
The Guardian - 8 September 2011 - 5
Threatened woodland birds to be monitored
Breeding pairs of the lesser spotted woodpecker and the willow tit are to be monitored by the RSPB to halt the drop in population.
Daily Telegraph - 8 September 2011 - 30
Plans to build a 4,000 foot zip-wire ride at Fleetwith Pike in Cumbria, have been rejected by the Lake District National Park Authority.
Daily Telegraph - 8 September 2011 - 9
'Planning rules should require that previously developed brownfield land is built on first'
Several letters to the Editor on the debate over planning reforms including one that says the Government must be persuaded to maintain the policy of enforcing priority for the reuse of previously developed brownfield land in the final version of the NPPF and one from Lord Vinson of Alnwick, Northumberland, that says although he is a member of both the National Trust and CPRE it is sad to see them speaking up for "those of us who are comfortably housed in agreeable places" and that Charles Moore is right that "we must recognise the desire of millions to own their homes".
Daily Telegraph - 7 September 2011 - 21
'Search for common ground, not a battlefield'
Alice Thomson writes that the Conservatives should stand for the countryside and new homes as "they are not incompatible".
The Times - 7 September 2011 - 28
Forest to be protected by 'fireproof' trees
Experts from the Crown Estate and the Forestry Commission plan to use "fireproof" trees including beeches, willows and sweet chesnuts to protect Swinley Forest in Berkshire, recovering from a blaze started by arsonists earlier this year.
Daily Telegraph - 7 September 2011 - 32
Guy Ritchie's solar power plan attacked by ecologist
Film director Guy Ritchie's plans to run his 1,132-acre estate in Wiltshire by solar power could be thwarted after an ecologist objected to the planning application saying the area falls within a designated wildlife site and features protected chalk grassland.
Daily Telegraph - 7 September 2011 - 9
Osborne urged to drop 50p tax rate to aid growth
George Osborne should drop the 50 pence top rate of income tax "at the earliest opportunity" to boost growth, according to 20 high-profile economists in a letter to the Financial Times today.
Financial Times - 7 September 2011 - 1
A letter to the Editor that says "what no-one seems to remember is that until the early 1990s there was a presumption in favour of all development, not just the sustainable kind".
The Times - 7 September 2011 - 30
Trains going at 250mph would create 'Berlin Wall for wildlife'
The National Trust, CPRE and the Chilterns Conservation Board have warned ministers that the high-speed rail scheme would bring "huge and irreversible damage" to some of England's unspoilt beauty spots and "would represent a Berlin Wall for wildlife".
The Times - 7 September 2011 - 11
Travellers 'wanted £6m to quit illegal site'
A Travellers' leader representing Britain's largest illegal settlement asked for £6million to sell up and move the families to another site, Basildon council has claimed.
Daily Telegraph - 7 September 2011 - 7
Breeder of pigs that grew too big is left without a sausage
A breeder of micro-pigs has been driven into bankruptcy by refunds to customers whose pigs grew too big.
The Times - 5 September 2011 - 20
Early crop: Season goes pear-shaped
The countryside is experiencing a bumper, if early, autumn with a plentiful supply of apples, pears, other fruits, seeds and berries as a result of the extreme weather.
Daily Telegraph - 5 September 2011 - 10
Green and pleasant land, but is it sustainable?
A letter to the Editor says that "if one looks to William Worsley's lobbyist view of sustainable development...it is not a typical drift away from the 1987 UN Brundtland Report."
The Times - 5 September 2011 - 29
Osborne weighs in on planning row
George Osborne has vowed to defeat the alliance of conservationists and Tory traditionalists in the row over planning reform saying: "No one should underestimate our determination to win this battle."
Financial Times - 5 September 2011 - 2
Planning reforms boost local power and growth
George Osborne and Eric Pickles jointly write a comment piece on how planning reforms will change the economy.
Financial Times - 5 September 2011 - 13
Rural communities get 50 percent less funding but pay more tax
Rural communities receive 50 percent less in government grants per head of population than those in urban areas, according to a report by the Rural Services Network.
Daily Telegraph - 5 September 2011 - 2
Wool celebrates return to comeback trail
The five-year campaign to bring back British wool, initiated and backed by the Prince of Wales, begins its second national Wool Week today to promote the uses of the most natural of fibres and support the industry.
The Times - 5 September 2011 - 46
'New planning laws will destroy the landscape'
Several letters for and against planning reform including one that says the most damaging change is allowing not just “alteration” but “replacement” of “all buildings” in the Green Belt which it claims "invites landowners to erect any kind of agricultural building then declare it redundant and get permission to replace it with a dwelling." Another letter says the countryside’s vital role is to provide food and that "we all value our beautiful countryside, but we should not forget that it produces the most basic need of mankind."
Sunday Telegraph - 4 September 2011 - 27
'Undo the green belt - but not near me'
Dominic Lawson writes that if the owner of a field near where he lives were to try to get planning permission to build houses he "would do everything in his power to prevent it". However, he admits he would do this to preserve the value of his property rather than for environmental reasons.
Sunday Times - 4 September 2011 - 24
Backlash in minister's yard
Constituents in Greg Clark's Tunbridge Wells have warned that his "rural building boom is political suicide."
Sunday Times - 4 September 2011 - 17
Furtive return of veal calf exports
Details of shipments for the veal trade have been obtained by animal rights campaigners and show that nearly 7,000 live calves have been exported to the Continent since the start of last year.
Sunday Times - 4 September 2011 - 9
PM told: let locals scrap green belt
The think tank Policy Exchange has said the green belt should be opened up to any development backed by a local community though is set to publish a report lambasting the Government's planning proposals saying they will not solve housing shortages and will leave too much power in the hands of local authorities.
Sunday Times - 4 September 2011 - 17
Blight of the builders’ charter
The paper reports that the Coalition’s controversial planning changes could lead to more than 1,000 extra “major developments” being approved every year, according to Whitehall documents. It reports that this would mean an extra 3,000 acres of land being built on every year as a result of the reforms.
Daily Telegraph - 2 September 2011 - 1
Intensive farming ‘better for wildlife than organic’
The paper reports that research suggests that organic farming can be less effective at protecting wildlife than intensive methods.
The Times - 2 September 2011 - 13
The planning system is broken – but is there a better one?
A letter from William Worsley is one of five to be used on the planning reform issue on The Times’ letters page. The CLA President writes: “Sensible sustainable development, as mooted by the National Planning Policy Framework, is vital for the survival of the English countryside and the communities that live and work there”.
John Howell MP writes that the “hysteria that some organisations are trying to generate over our reforms is due more to them being afraid of change to a system that they will no longer be able to control because it puts trust and knowledge in the hands of local people”.
Bryan Coode, of Cornwall, writes that “the overdue process of speeding up the planning system is becoming so laissez faire it approaches anarchy”.
Mark Barrington-Ward, of Oxford, argues that the “market cannot be relied on to deliver badly needed high-standard affordable homes”.
Bob Weston, Chairman of Weston Homes, writes that if the Government is “serious about increasing housing provision, it needs to recognise that cutting funding to social landlords is not going to help to achieve that aim”.
The Times - 2 September 2011 - 33
Want a home? Lose a hedgerow.
In a rare pro-sustainable development comment article, Philip Collins writes that “on this crazily crowded island we have built houses on only 1.1 percent of the land. Sheep and cows have more room to live in than we do”.
The Times - 2 September 2011 - 29