Dear Sir

Who is ruining the Countryside?

Here we go again - another unprecedented attack on farmers, the easy targets. I refer of course to the headlines in WDP 18th June Farmers Costing Us £500m a Year which is a bit of a departure from the WDPs usual support for an industry that has been undermined by 30 years of EU interference and Government apathy.

What has brought this about? Is it the fact that the Government is being fined £50m a year by the EU for ignoring the 1991 Directive on nitrogen in our water. I would say that is a failure by Government, not the farmers - as was the case when the Government was being fined £30m a year by the EU for having the dirtiest beaches in Europe. So I guess they have decided to blame the farmers? See below a couple of articles from the Environment Agencys website showing clearly that industry also contaminates our land and water courses. Also in a densely populated country, I guess most of the water we drink has been down the lavatory quite a few times, not to mention all the toxic powders from washing machines, dish washers and all the garden chemicals that also get poured down the loo.

I would say the benefit of keeping farmers completely outweighs the imagined cost. How about every farmer send the Government a bill for purifying our polluted air. Farmers crops do a first rate job of converting CO2 into oxygen in a process called photosynthesis, as well as (as a by product) producing a whole range of crops and food for people to eat. There is no money in this process so a small charge of say £5bn would help farmers recoup the losses caused by inept Government and EU policies. Also how about farmers send in a few bills for trimming roadside hedges and maintaining the landscape that attracts so many foreign tourists?

And whilst I think about it, how about the huge subsidies our Government gives to other EU Countries to produce the same farm produce as we produce in the UK? At the same time the Government denies UK farmers many of the same subsidies in order to claim a bigger rebate from the EU (for not claiming all the available farm subsidies). Consequently the UK farmer is being put out of business by UK taxpayers money which is being used to subsidise our competitors.

To be fair the Government is not in much of a position to do anything about it because we are members of an undemocratic Union which every politician in the last 25 years says needs reforming. We are unlikely to get better terms because the other countries are enjoying accepting our taxpayers £s, so reform is out of the question. I can quite understand Margaret Beckett wanting to stop all farm subsidies because the lions share of our money goes as farm aid to other (already developed) EU countries.

The trade we have with the EU is detrimental to the UK because we import far more than we export so our continued membership of the EU needs serious re-consideration. To continue is to throw away so many fundamental principals of democracy. For instance, the basis of our system is that a law made by one elected parliament can be repealed by a later Government. Unless we extricate ourselves from the EU (which we did not vote for), all the Diktats and laws imposed upon us (including the way we spend taxpayers money) will be irreversible. In other words there will be no way out!

I would love to see us regain our Sovereignty and be able to use our own money on our hospitals, schools, police as well as supporting our own industries. I wonder if, constitutionally, we could repeal the 1972 European Communities Act - even if we wanted to?

David Goddard

(Odessa Farm Tewkesbury)