Earlier in the month I took a very pleasant stroll along the River Wissey with the Norfolk Rivers Trust. I was shown how altering the river flow can create the right conditions for fish and bug life. We also spoke about the Trust’s work to encourage more children to become involved with conservation and the opportunities available for work and recreation in the countryside.
This was one of the points I discussed when I visited a pig farm at near West Dereham. A thriving rural economy is good for everyone so I was delighted to meet enthusiastic farmers Richard and Charlotte. Working with British Quality Pork (BQP), they have secured the much coveted Waitrose gold standard for their pork. BQP help farmers to set up on their own assisting with finance, equipment, paying for vets bills whilst the farmer concentrates on looking after the animals. It was great to walk round the fields and see such a professional and successful business model.
Having Norfolk’s wonderful countryside on the doorstep is one of the many delights of living here. Our environment is so precious and that is why I was delighted to announce the UK’s first pollinators strategy. This will see more funding made available to farmers and landowners who take steps to improve the conditions for bees and other pollinating insects that fertilise plants to grow crops, fruits and seeds. This is a really positive step forward as they provide services worth £430m to the economy and our arable and horticultural industries are dependent on them. Simple steps like leaving sections of the lawn to grow wild all help; in fact over the years my garden quite regularly has this look – though I must confess, not always by design!
This year’s remembrance Sunday was particularly poignant – 100 years after the outbreak of World War I. I attended events in Downham Market and Swaffham and was extremely moved by the presence of both young and old at the ceremonies. It is also the time to give recognition to the amazing work done by the men and women currently serving in the armed forces. Personnel from RAF Marham continue to provide considerable operational support in regions around the globe and with many civilians employed at the base, RAF Marham is a great asset to the local community.