Book your place at the National Rural Conference 2022

If your organisation is a member of the RSN through the SPARSE, Rural Assembly, RSP or RHCA you can book your free place at the National Rural Conference now and join rural specialists to debate key issues.  We have over 600 bookings already so book your place now!

Hinterland - 21 September 2020

In Hinterland this week - just one coronavirus story for a change amidst a bevvy of other rural issues around: crime, farming and the environment, housing (and algorithms) and finally a football playing alpaca in the Yorkshire Dales

*         *          *

UK Farming Minister sees progress on new environmental schemes

ELMs will lead to a radical change in the way our land is managed – it is important that responsible for economic development in rural areas start to engage with the implications of it. This story tells us:

Farmers in Wensleydale are looking at whether they can deliver better outcomes for our environment when given greater flexibility and autonomy to manage their land. While the farmers and land managers of Barningham Estate Farmers Group are exploring ways to encourage farmers to work together across diverse landscapes to achieve their environmental goals.

By testing and trialling elements of the new scheme, Defra is looking to work together with farmers and land managers to harness their ideas, gain their feedback and build something that works for the diverse needs of the agriculture sector, whilst also improving our environment.

This comes ahead of the landmark Agriculture Bill returning to Parliament next week. The Bill sets out our ambitions to transform British farming by delivering the new ELM scheme, which will reward farmers for public goods they produce, such as providing habitats for wildlife and improving air and water quality. Importantly, the Bill will also help farmers take full advantage of the opportunities available to them as we leave the outdated Common Agricultural Policy.

More algorithm mayhem on this occasion its about houses rather than exams but it still threatens to impact on the quality of life of a significant number of rural dwellers.

Boris Johnson faces massive Tory rebellion over radical plans to 'concrete over' rural Britain to build more homes: Senior back-benchers in revolt at PM's policy based on a 'mutant algorithm'

Leaked analysis of a proposed new national housing formula reveals Tory-run local authorities outside London overall should deliver more than 30,600 extra houses every year. 

In contrast, Labour-run town halls would be asked to deliver 1,500 fewer homes each year. 

Areas such as Oxford, Epsom and Ewell, Sevenoaks and the Isle of Wight could all see a surge in house building, while Salford, Newcastle and Liverpool would see a large decrease.

The warning comes as around 30 Tory MPs are said to have joined a WhatsApp group aimed at opposing the plans, reports The Sunday Times.

FLY-TIPPING, theft and trespass are among the rural crimes facing rural people in Hampshire, a new survey has revealed

This article gives me substantial pause for thought in the way it reveals a luke warm response ot rural crime it tells us:

Crime has always been a key issue throughout the countryside, but this has only risen up the national agenda over the last few years, thanks to a growing awareness of the problems rural communities are facing. However, this increased awareness is often not felt by the communities that live and work in the countryside, with 98 per cent of Hampshire respondents feeling that rural crime has a significant impact in their community, according to the survey carried out by the Countryside Alliance.

The extent of crime in rural areas is only part of the problem. For many people, whether they have fallen victim to crime or not, the simple fear of crime can have as great a detrimental effect on their quality of life as the actual experience of crime itself. The effect of long-term emotional stress, loss of confidence - particularly among young people, families and farmers - should not be underestimated. This fear of crime is also exacerbated by rural isolation.

The crimes which were recorded as the most frequently committed in rural areas, include fly-tipping, agricultural machinery theft and trespass, with respondents wanting the police to prioritise tackling these crimes.

Nationally, there is a serious problem of crime being underreported in rural areas, with more than one in four not reporting the last crime they were a victim of.

Those surveyed felt it was either a waste of time to report it or that the police would not be able to do anything and 47 per cent of people don’t think the police take rural crime seriously, while 57 per cent of people don’t think rural policing has improved since Police and Crime Commissioners were introduced in 2012.

The implication of these findings is that the rural population is putting up with the crime they experience and making do as best they can, the alliance says.

Sarah Lee, head of policy at the Countryside Alliance said: “Good rural policing is about far more than numbers of police officers on the ground. If we truly want to tackle rural crime, then we must form effective partnerships between the police, rural communities and other authorities to ensure that the needs of our rural communities are truly understood so that the availability of services matches those needs.”

Coronavirus: Oxford University to resume vaccine trial after pause

We hear relatively little about the vaccine side of things in the pandemic news mix so this will be of interest to you all!! It tells us:

Trials of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University will resume after being paused due to a reported side effect in a patient in the UK.

On Tuesday, AstraZeneca said the studies were being paused while it investigated whether the adverse reaction was linked with the vaccine.

But on Saturday, the university said it had been deemed safe to continue.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the news that the trials would resume.

"This pause shows we will always put safety first. We will back our scientists to deliver an effective vaccine as soon as safely possible," he added.

The university said in a statement that it was "expected" that "some participants will become unwell" in large trials such as this one.

It added that the studies could now resume following the recommendations of an independent safety review committee and the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

New tactics against 'county lines' drug dealing are working, say police

This looks like very promising progress in tackling this very serious problem. The story tells us:

Police say new tactics have enabled them to drive the expansion of ‘county lines’ drug dealing into reverse, and have vowed to eradicate it from the country’s worst-affected area.

County lines – whereby drug-dealing gangs from cities expand their operations to other areas – had been growing every year, with rural areas such as Norfolk plagued by drugs from London and serious violence. Gangs had become so comfortable they were sending out “Happy Christmas” messages to their clients.

Under the tactics, escalated during the coronavirus lockdown, officers go after those controlling the lines from London via their pay-as-you-go mobile phones rather than just chasing the runners sent to rural areas.

In Norfolk, the runners are usually teenagers who transport drugs in clingfilm wraps within their body. Cash is taken back to London in the same way.

So far, 30 out of 75 lines in Norfolk have been shut after those controlling them were traced and arrested in London, police say, with the closed lines responsible for half the drugs sold. Det Insp Robin Windsor-Waite, the officer leading Norfolk police’s efforts, told the Guardian: “It is a massive rollback.”

Norfolk is the area in Britain with the highest number of recorded crimes linked to county lines, with hotspots in Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn, and police say they have rewritten the rule book on how to tackle it.

Windsor-Waite said: “As those controlling the networks are commonly based outside the county, they may have a feeling of impunity, believing they’re beyond our reach and being careful not to attract the attention of their home force. To successfully tackle county lines criminality, we need to arrest the controlling minds rather than the mules and street dealers.

“In the majority of cases, the arrest of the line controller terminates the line – and the risk associated with that line. Prior to this operation there was a degree of resignation to the continued exponential growth of county lines within Norfolk. The outlook has been transformed and our ambition is to completely eliminate the county lines business model from the county.”

The tactics have led to arrests being made in London since December. The Home Office provided extra money for the Met to act on intelligence.

Since November, 146 London-based alleged county line holders have been charged with selling class A drugs such as crack and heroin across Britain – in Scotland, Surrey, Kent, south Wales, and Devon and Cornwall, as well as Norfolk.

And Finally

Alpaca pitch invader disrupts Carlton Athletic football match

The latest example of mischief in Hinterland’s on-going  study of the antics of charismatic mega fauna. This article tells us…..

A football match was disrupted by an unusual pitch invader when an alpaca bounded on to the field.

Carlton Athletic's tie against Ilkley Town in West Yorkshire on Saturday was halted for 15 minutes when Oscar escaped from a nearby farm and joined the action.

Attempts were made to entice it off the pitch with food, before a farmer managed to shepherd it home.

After the bizarre delay, Ilkley went on to secure a 2-0 away win.

The sides play in the West Yorkshire League Premier Division, with Carlton, near Rothwell, "renowned" in the league for having alpacas nearby, Ilkley manager Simon Armstrong said.

"After 35 minutes it escaped, came through the entrance and proceeded to get on the pitch. The referee stopped the game," he said.

"People didn't want to go near it in case it kicked. The farmer was then called and eventually it was tempted back in the field."

About the author:
Hinterland is written for the Rural Services Network by Ivan Annibal, of rural economic practitioners Rose Regeneration.



Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.