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EDITIONS
Breakfast Thursday, 19 September, 2002, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Countryside in crisis?
Join our interactive forum at 9.15am on Friday
Tens of thousands of people are expected to converge in London this Sunday, to protest about the state of the British countryside

The message that country life is under threat has often repeated - but is it true?

Breakfast has this week been looking at some some of the issues affecting rural communities, in the run up to Sunday's "liberty and livelihood" protest.

On Friday, we discussed the decline of the countryside in a special Online interactive forum. Our guests were Dave Ward from the League against Cruel Sports, and Mal Treharne from the Countryside Alliance.

  Click here to watch the forum.  



  • We want to hear your views on all aspects of country life: click here to go straight to our e-mail form

  • On Monday we focused on the decline of rural services.

    Between 1997 and 2000, 546 rural post offices closed. A further 5 percent closed between 2000 and 2001. Twenty nine percent of villages have no access to public transport, and 72 percent of villages don't have a small village shop or general food store. About 100-thousand people are moving every year into rural England. It's pushing house prices up while wages for rural workers remain lower than city workers'.

  • On Tuesday we looked at the impact of cheap imports on British farmers. We heard from one pig farmer, who makes a loss of 10 on each animal he sells.

  • On Thursday, we looked at farmers' complaints against supermarkets, who they accuse of driving them to the verge of bankrupty. We talked to a dairy farmer who's losing out badly on milk production.

  • And on Friday, we'll tackle the most emotive countryside issue of all: fox hunting.


    Here are some of your comments so far:

    My partner and I wish to purchase a village shop and Post Office the problem we have found is that the shops are not profitable enough to sustain us. This is becouse the villagers are going to the supermarkets more and more (which is what I would do so their is no complaint there). If the villagers wish to have a shop then they must expect to pay a higher price for the convenience.
    Tom Smith

    The reason why there are no shops etc. are because people moan about losing them as they go off to their cheap suppermarkets. People say one thing and do another. It is basic economics that the shops close as people do not use them. THEN they complain.
    Tony McGough

    This Government gives the countryside no supports at all. They butt in where they are patently not needed and totally fail to support where it is. I could go on for hours, but I guess that says it all.
    Mrs. Stevens

    This march is a thinly disguised attempt to claim massive support for keeping fox hunting barbarity even if it is dressed nicely must be stopped
    Gareth Davies

    Of course villages are losing their services. Services are not a charity - you need people to use them. Government planning guidance PPG3 has made sure that housing development in and around villages cannot happen. This policy advocates that urban extensions are the way forward and therefore services in the countryside will continue to decline as long as this short-sighted policy continues.
    Helen Johnson

    Before I comment on the condition of the countryside I would like to point out that I am an ex 'townie' that has recently moved to a small village in Dorset, who works in the local aircraft industrie. And now that I have moved here I fully support everything that the Country side aliance stand for. I believe that the countryside and those who work in any of its industries will never have support from this government. The government will support any minority - as long as that minority supports them. Those working in the country side are a large minority that will never support this government because of its attitude towards them. An attitude that will even make them change the law just because of an activity that they do not like. No government has the right to change the law on a 'wim' and put people out of work. But then this just shows the contempt in which this government holds the agricultural community, and they won't be satisfied until this community is dead. Simply because they are a minority that hold different values.
    Christopher Lelliott

    THESE COUNTRY PEOPLE WANT IT BOTH WAYS. THEY HAVE A PRIVELIDGES LIFESTYLE. THEY ARE NEVER SATISFIED. I WILL EXCHANGE WITH ANYONE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. THEY CHOSE TO LIVE THERE. I DID NOT CHOOSE TO LIVE ON A COUNCIL ESTATE..THEY SHOULD STOP BAYING AND START PAYING.
    ANTHONY RODGERS

    I'm lucky enough to live in a village on the Isle of Man, where we have post ofice, pubs, three shops. off license, chemist, doctors and butchers/bakers. All within three minutes walk of each other. It makes me really sad to hear about the closure of rural services because what gets lost is the sense of community. People drift apart as they get lost in commuterism. Whereas here everybody knows each other at by sight and we are supportive of each other.
    ANONYMOUS

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    Case study
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    Case study
    Declining rural services
    Case study
    The dairy farmer
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