Mr Collins talked to the prince about new
research, unveiled at the Game Fair by Saffery Champness, which
contains strong criticism from UK landowners and their agents.
Mr Collins said: "I talked with
Prince Charles about the research which demonstrates the concern of
those who believe that the government has failed to heed the
recommendations of the 1969 Northumberland Report. This specifically
warned against the burning of infected animals and stipulated that
they be buried near to the site of infection."
Other key findings of Saffery Champness’
Landowners have been the driving force
behind organising aid at a local level.
If hill farmers are forced to retire,
large parts of the countryside could turn to wilderness and scrub.
A third of those interviewed said they
were faced with tenant farmers leaving.
The majority of estates have given their
tenant farmers additional aid by deferring rent payments.
Landowners have been badly hit by lost
income from activities such as forestry, fishing and holiday cottages
and also by substantially reduced income from tourist-based
Few estate owners are easily able to
identify potential funding sources from the European Commission or
The majority of estates confirm that
diversification away from farming is essential for the future survival
of the countryside.
Mr Collins said: “With fears about foot
and mouth disease resurfacing over the last few days, our research
gives a fascinating insight into how rural Britain has been affected
by the crisis.
"Saffery Champness acts for some of
the largest landed estates in the country and this report demonstrates
how estate owners have taken on a strong leadership role in organising
measures to deal with the crisis locally. These estate owners are
providing exactly the kind of local leadership that Prince Charles has
been calling for during the past few days.”
He added: “We hope that this report
will be of use, as well as of interest, to all members of the UK’s
rural community, whether or not they have been directly affected by
foot and mouth. Although the crisis has had a devastating effect on
the countryside, farming itself has been under pressure for some time
now. Our research emphasises the need for farmers, estate owners and
the government to re-examine the roles of farming and other rural
Saffery Champness, whose clients own more
than 2.5 million countryside acres, conducted this survey of leading
estates from all over the UK.