Polytunnel ruling dismays the farming industry

The NFU has expressed extreme disappointment at the High Court’s judgment to insist on the removal of Spanish polytunnels from a Surrey farm.
Hall Hunter Partnership at Tuesley farm, Milford, had argued that in law polytunnels are currently considered to be temporary structures and do not require planning permission.

Additionally they argued, despite a planning inspector upholding Waverley Borough Council’s Enforcement Order to remove the structures, the inspector wrongly withheld planning permission.
But the ruling, made on Friday (15 December) during the High Court Appeal, forces the farm to take down its polytunnels, windbreaks and temporary workers’ accommodation.
However the NFU is standing firmly behind a balanced use of crop covers, in particular the Spanish polytunnel, which its says plays a vital role in extending the British soft fruit season, as well as reducing food miles and helping UK growers remain competitive against global imports.
NFU’s horticulture board chairman Richard Hirst said: ‘The use of Spanish polytunnels by the British soft fruit industry is absolutely vital in allowing growers to provide consumers with the quality product they have come to expect.
“We are very concerned this decision may undermine growers’ confidence in the industry and make them think twice about expanding their business to meet the increasing demand for British grown berries.” 

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