Letter: Countryside myth

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THE PRIME MINISTER, seeking to reconcile his One Nation policy with the cocktail of conflicting causes represented by the Countryside March, could start by devolving the hunting issue. This clash of individual conscience and rural tradition is surely best fought out at local government level.

Westminster politicians could then concentrate on ensuring that the nation as a whole benefited from future subsidies paid to farmers. If the public wants to retain small fields and their hedges, which, as Roger Stratton (letter, 28 February) implies, are a handicap in competing with world market prices, then switch the arable aid Mr Stratton presumably now gets for his wheatfields into hedging grants. Likewise, set-aside and even extensification payments, which we currently receive for keeping livestock at lower stocking rates, could be tied to public access to those fields on a farm claiming them.

JOHN E TRICKS

Crediton, Devon

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