Sending us back
Half the arable farmland in the east of the country must be converted to grass within six years to avoid huge fines for pollution from the European Court, the Government has been warned.
Researchers have concluded that the land must go back to what it was in the Middle Ages if new EU rules on reducing nitrate pollution in water are not to be breached.
Adas says nitrate in water from farmland must be lower than 26 kgs per hectare to meet the limit and this is "incompatible" with either conventional agriculture (about 50 kgs of nitrate) or organic (about 48 kg).
Prof Sylvester-Bradley believes that EU regulators will eventually have to recognise that it is unrealistic for agriculture not to have an effect on water supplies in heavily populated northern Europe. Peter Kendall, the president of the National Farmers' Union, said: "We want the Government to make sure it gets the agri-environment schemes it has promised up and running and invests in a strong research and development base.
"I believe that we should be looking at smart solutions and not throwing out the baby will the bath water and losing British agriculture."
It is worth remembering that we are talking of very low levels of pollution which are harmless - the time scale is such that the rise in nitrate levels in borehole waters is largely due to the ploughing up of grassland during the last European unpleasantness 60 years ago.
But isn't this just symptomatic of the EU to create a problem, where there is no need for one, which creates huge changes and costs and basically sends us back to the Middle Ages.
Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam