Suffolk: CLA president addresses members’ concerns at county AGM

New CLA Suffolk branch committee chairman Edward Vere Nicoll, CLA eastern regional director Nicola C

New CLA Suffolk branch committee chairman Edward Vere Nicoll, CLA eastern regional director Nicola Currie, and CLA president Henry Robinson. - Credit: Archant

The three-crop rule spelt out in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is “nonsense”, landowners were told at an annual meeting.

CLA President Henry Robinson addressing the CLA Suffolk Branch Committee AGM.

CLA President Henry Robinson addressing the CLA Suffolk Branch Committee AGM. - Credit: Archant

Country Land and Business Association (CLA) president Henry Robinson was addressing the association’s Suffolk Branch Committee AGM held at Stoke-by-Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa on Friday, May 23.

Referring to recent reform of Common Agricultural Policy and its impact on the county’s farmers, he described the three-crop rule as “nonsense” and guidance on Environmental Focus Areas as “unclear”. He said that the CLA had been lobbying hard for clarity and some swift decisions, and was hoping for definitive answers in early June.

Mr Robinson assured them that the CLA was working hard to address a number of issues affecting county’s farmers and landowners.

He said that last December’s tidal surge, that caused widespread flooding and damage across east Suffolk, had led him to have meetings with the Environment Agency’s Lord Smith and to seek assurances that adequate protection would be provided to farmland and rural property from future incidents.

Mr Robinson also made the call for small-scale, organic growth of rural housing for employees of agricultural businesses and as retirement dwellings in order to help solve the current housing crisis and breathe life into villages.

After two years in the role, Graham Downing handed the role of chairman to Edward Vere Nicoll of the Benacre Estate. Bennett Swayne confirmed he would remain president of the branch committee.

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The AGM was followed by a tour of the Peake Fruit farm, which is part of the Boxford Group Estate that also encompasses Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa, and Boxford (Suffolk) Farms.