Rory Stewart is right to stress the crucial role of small farms in our heritage and landscape. And his concern for their future is one that I share. We depend on farmers to manage the beautiful landscape of the Lake District which draws in nearly sixteen million visitors a year. They are a vital to our plans to have the area’s cultural heritage recognised as a World Heritage Site. Yet average earnings per hill farm are £8,000 per year, according to research that we commissioned from Newcastle University. We are expecting farmers to do a lot, for little return. Read more
Tag Archives: Rory Stewart
This post is by Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border. It is from a collection of essays: Green conservatism: protecting the environment through open markets. There are similar collections published under ‘Green social democracy’ and ‘Green liberalism’ projects as part of Green Alliance’s Green Roots programme, which aims to stimulate green thinking within the three dominant political traditions in the UK. This has also been published on ConservativeHome.
If you want to see why a conservative approach to environmental policy is necessary, consider the fate of Britain’s small upland farms. They are vanishing. Two thirds of our farmers and independent farms have been swept aside in the last few decades. As they disappear, the basic structure of rural life is being undermined: farmhouses are converted to expensive homes in empty valleys, where it is increasingly rare to see a farmer in a field. Read more