4 June 1999

Land use warning

THE government appears to be committed to a policy of "creeping nationalisation" of land use, Country Landowners Association president Ian MacNicol believes.

Speaking at Somerset CLAs annual meeting at Dulverton, he said: "We used to worry about nationalisation of the land – but we are now seeing the nationalisation of land use. We are being told what we can grow and how we can grow it.

"We see controls and regulations and all the associated costs being loaded on an industry already suffering the worst crisis in living memory."

It almost beggared belief, he added, that, despite the crisis, some MPs were now considering imposing rates on agricultural land and buildings.

Mr MacNicol promised that he would impress on the government that imported farm products should only be allowed into this country if they had been produced to at least the standards imposed on the UKs producers.