24 May 2002

Planning snags for posters

THE NFUs plans to place posters in arable fields to explain the difference between farm crops could fall foul of local planning rules.

The NFU initiative, part of its Arable Action Campaign to raise the profile of arable farmers, aims to encourage visitors to link what they see in the countryside with the food that they eat. The union is asking farmers to place the laminated posters, supplied free of charge, next to footpaths in cropped fields.

But the posters could contravene planning regulations as they are classed as advertisements. &#42

Rural campaigner from the Council for the Protection of Rural England, Sophie Spencer, said that posters in fields were not the right way to give consumers more information about farming. "The beauty and environmental quality of the countryside is its biggest asset and this campaign risks spoiling that. People just dont want to see all sorts of adverts cluttering up the countryside."

But NFU campaigns officer Victoria Brook said: "As far as we are aware there is provision under the Town & Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 whereby an advertisement relating to any demonstration of agricultural methods or processes is allowed up to 1.2m in total for each demonstration."

The poster initiative will be supported by an arable fact sheet which will be distributed at the NFU roadshow and agricultural events and activities throughout the summer.