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Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33696
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 3:31 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

It's a very difficult one.

On one hand it means we can have local strawberries longer and cheaper than flown in ones. The hard fact is we are going to have strawberries year round, so local polytunnel, or Israel? Additionally, they provide local jobs and income for the farmers. Without them, many of our local farms would be sold off to developers, or farming would cease and we'd have more golf.

The other side of the coin is that they are ugly, noisy, and mean there's quite a lot of water drained from the local water courses, and plenty of chemicals are also used. We have tons of temporary accomodation built (essentially mobile homes) for the influx of eastern european workers who come to service them.

So, less airmiles, more local economy, but uglier countryside.

On balance, Monty Don hates them, so I think they're a good thing.

However, why do you talk about people making money in the city doing the moaning? Because it's in Surrey? Hereford is suffering/enjoying the polytunnel growth more than anywhere, and there's certainly not huge stockbroker's houses about. Local people, who've been here generations and still earn bugger all are involved heavily on both sides of the debate. Don't try and make this a townie vs country thing. It ain't.

Green Man



Joined: 23 Jul 2006
Posts: 5272
Location: Rural Scotland.
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sorry I don't mean to . I too am un-decided. I don't think this new legislation will stop anybody putting up tunnels, just give the local council more work but more revenue from planning aplications. What we will have to be careful about now is that perhaps once the tunnels are gone the site might be considered a 'brown field' and ripe for developement?

oldish chris



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 4148
Location: Comfortably Wet Southport
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It might not be a townie versus local issue, but I have gained the impression from news reports that its a rich middle class selfish plonker versus rural industrialists.

The news reporter starts off by saying the plans for : wind turbines, roadway, factory units (and now poly tunnels) have met opposition because of the visual impact. I then try to guess Surrey? Cotswolds? or some other area favoured by City Slickers.

Yockels should stick to useful jobs like being gardeners or housekeepers for rich people, and not try to create a real enterprise. (In my humble but biased opinion)

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33696
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The effect we've seen is that they used to leave them up all year. Now, they at least take them down during the winter months. Although, this year they are all still in place, so maybe they've got permission, or maybe they've been told they don't need it. Like all legal things, it flows back and forth, with only the tax payer losing, and the lawyers winning.

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33696
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

oldish chris wrote:

Yockels should stick to useful jobs like being gardeners or housekeepers for rich people, and not try to create a real enterprise. (In my humble but biased opinion)


I spy, with my little eye, a Troll!

nettie



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 5886
Location: Suffolk
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I was pondering this one earlier this afternoon. I'm undecided too. Again, it's about educating people I suppose, as all the farmers are doing is to meet the Great British demand.

Some people have started to "get" the food miles issue now, buying local, and some of the big stores use it as a selling point, albeit for the "british" produce rather than "local" produce they are pushing. Hence the increased need for mass UK production all year round.

So a big tick for the focus on food miles and the awareness it's created. If the media focused as much on seasonality as they did the food miles issue then, once again, it eventually may start to alter buying habits, reducing the need for such huge monocultures and changes to our landscape, and of course, our wildlife habitats.

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33696
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

One of the things they are claiming is that because you have an enclosed environment, you can use a lot less herbicides/pesticides/whatever. I assume that each plant needs the same amount as before, but you don't have to calculate for as much waste with less wind, rain run off, etc etc. The benefits of them are very real, the costs are, as I say, the ugliness, the noise they make and the increased industrialisation of the area.

boisdevie1



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
Posts: 3896
Location: Lancaster
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I can see the advantages of polytunnels but surely their existence is really another result of the desire of people to eat stuff out of season or to try and get the countryside to produce ever more crops.

I know that with tunnels we can have things like tomatoes and strawberries earlier but why can't we accept the fact that crops are seasonal. OK, I can't eat my own outdoor strawberries until they're ready but the pleasure is enhanced by the fact that I can only eat them for a certain period.

But then with the pressures on the countryside I'd rather have a countryside that is financially viable with polytunnels than a countryside without polytunnels that's going bust.

And surely in overall terms whats the real difference between a polytunnel and a Dutch barn? Both are artificial 'blots' on the landscape. But it's just that we're accustomed to seeing such artificial blots so we don't really 'see' them any more - things like roads, buildings, electricity pylons etc - it seems to be more modern things (polytunnels, wind turbines) that people don't seem to like. Perhaps after a few years have gone by they'll get used to them and not really notice them anymore?

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33696
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The thing is, you can't undo the things that have happened. We're never again going to not have tomatoes year round. Starwberries in February are here to stay. That, I'm afraid is a fact. You're right, it'd be lovely not to, but in the real world, Tescos will stock them and people will buy them.

One very real difference between a Dutch barn and a poly tunnel is they are incredibly noisy. When the wind blows, they ripple and bang. And it's not a natural noise you easily get used to, like the wind in the trees, or whatever. So, I know why people hate them, but the alternative is a poorer local economy, a countryside which might not be productive, and so built on, ignored, golf coursed, and, actually, worse strawberries, because the stuff in the polytunnels is good. Not *as* good as the ones in August, but better than the ones on the supermarket shelves flown in. So... Yeah, many sides, and no One True Answer.

Paddington Bear



Joined: 31 Jan 2005
Posts: 169
Location: Shropshire
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Reading this report it just mentions agricultural land, so if you wanted a polytunnel in your back garden instead of a greenhouse, would you need planning permission? What if your back garden was agricultural land?
Re the bit about Dutch barns and polytunnels, we an old corrugated barn at the back of were we used to live. On a windy night the sheets would creak and bang about but it didn't seem out of place, A developer bought the land knocked the barn down, put up an executive house with dozens of outside lights including a floodlit parking area, think I preferred the barn.

oldish chris



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 4148
Location: Comfortably Wet Southport
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

nickhowe wrote:
oldish chris wrote:

Yockels should stick to useful jobs like being gardeners or housekeepers for rich people, and not try to create a real enterprise. (In my humble but biased opinion)


I spy, with my little eye, a Troll!


Only a Troll's advocate

LynneA



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 4893
Location: London N21
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'd rather see a further hectare of polytunnels than yet another golf course

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33696
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

But why? Noisy, steel and polythene erections, or open green space?

LynneA



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 4893
Location: London N21
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

A van load of much-maligned East Europeans doing an honest day's work or several Rover 75's worth of middle-aged men with bad dress sense doing nothing of any use?

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33696
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 06 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Oh, I'm with you all the way, I have to say.

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