Ukraine crisis illustrates why we cannot offshore food production
by Simon Hoare MP for North Dorset – From the New Blackmore Vale Magazine Friday 27th May 2022
This is heaven
As we all walk, cycle, ride and drive around stunning North Dorset and, indeed, the wider county, I fear we become less hit between the eyes by its sheer loveliness. My Spanish sister-in- law has commented to me ‘THIS is Heaven’. She had not been to Dorset before.
We get used to looking at what’s around us without always seeing and, by dint, appreciating. I don’t know if it’s me but our verges and hedgerows have looked particularly seductive this year. Dorset Council’s fewer and later cuts appear to be paying some dividend.
Livestock and dairy – mainstays
Our topography and pepper-potted villages and towns help sculpt our environs but it is our farmers who make the difference. Livestock farming and dairy are our mainstays, with arable strong, too. These custodians of our landscape do it with love. They, like us all, only have a leasehold interest on our planet.
Those who know me know I try to be a realistic optimist, preferring to see my glass half-full. I try to see a silver lining in every cloud. Even, I believe, the horror of Ukraine can have a silver lining in that it has enlivened the debate about UK food production and the desirability of food security. Pray God we never see the days of convoys being sunk and rationing again but the situation in Ukraine will clearly add to UK food bills as trade is disrupted as their growing schedules have been interrupted.
We need our farms to produce food
The folly of those, usually Trustifarians for whom ‘farming’ is a hobby, who have been advocating recently for a beaver in every stream and rewilding all over the place, and that we can meet our food needs from overseas, has been thrown into sharp light. Environmental enhancements and biodiversity increases are not alien to productive farming and vice-versa. They are two sides of the same coin. We need our farms to produce our food. The quality is high. The regulations robust. Animal welfare is an imperative.
We cannot and must not offshore our food production. Consumers would be short-changed and Dorset changed beyond recognition.
Simon Hoare MP
Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when asked today (BBC ‘Sunday Morning’) about the Government’s proposals to address the current fuel crisis, said: “Offshore wind can be rolled out quickly”.
Wind – energy at the lowest carbon cost
When it comes to reducing global warming, wind is the big winner. The Carbon Intensity of wind generation (at 21 CO2-eq kg/MW·he) is over five times lower than PV solar panels (at 106 CO2-eq kg/MW·he). And, as noted previously, wind has a Carbon footprint some eleven times lower than PV solar panels – which are mainly sourced from China and destined for landfill!
The Government was committed to producing enough energy to supply every home in the country with offshore wind by 2030. The Ministerial Statement effectively brings that date forward two years by increasing the offshore output from 40 to 50 GW. – at much lower carbon cost than solar – and with the capacity and load factor to enable storage and Hydrogen production.
While solar benefits the few – offshore wind benefits the many!
“We cannot and must not offshore our food production. Consumers would be short-changed and Dorset changed beyond recognition.” But offshoring wind energy makes real carbon-saving sense.