SOFT FRUIT growers in Herefordshire are under attack for erecting poly-tunnels to grow strawberries in, reports the Daily Mail.

The industry is worth £50m a year to Herefordshire according to the paper, but unhappy local residents are describing the tunnels as “rural terrorism”.

But farmers say the tunnels enable them to harvest from April through to November instead of only a few weeks in the summer.

Angry residents in the Wye Valley argue that the tunnels, which are 12ft tall and 24ft wide, don‘t require planning permission.

Herefordshire County Council, which along with Kent does not require planning permission, said that “the law is not clear”.

Instead it has asked farmers to put up screening where possible and urges them not to put up tunnels too close to homes.

The farmer at the centre of the latest controversy, Neil Cockburn, said: “The countryside is somewhere we live and work in, it‘s not a museum.

 “This is the reality of farming today,” he added.

“Without these poly-tunnels we would not be able to survive. We have extended our growing season and are using 20 per cent less pesticide.”