Polytunnel battle nearly over

The industry’s battle with Herefordshire Council to force it to withdraw its policy to make existing and proposed polytunnels subject to planning permission looks to be won.

The move follows a judicial review part-funded by the NFU and British Summer Fruits (BSF). BSF also says Herefordshire Council is developing a supplementary planning policy. BSF chairman Laurence Olins said: “We’re satisfied with the result and especially encouraged that Herefordshire Council is working with local growers to develop future policy. Establishing an open dialogue between growers and governing bodies is vital to ensure the berry industry remains one of British agriculture’s success stories.” Herefordshire Council’s policy caused shockwaves throughout the industry (Grower, 29 March) when it confirmed its planning strategy was to change. Soft-fruit growers feared the decision would be copied by other councils and halve the UK industry. The decision has yet to be ratified by Herefordshire Council’s cabinet.

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