Letters to the Editor July 2024


Laura editor of the BV Magazine
Laura editor of the BV Magazine

As I sit writing this, the polling stations are closing, and the country stand (sit? snoozes?) poised, waiting for what I think is an inevitable landslide of a night. Living in Dorset, we enjoy one of the most beautiful and tranquil environments in the country. But hiding behind the idyllic facade of thatched roofs and high hedgerows lies an issue that has been overlooked, avoided and ignored by successive governments.
The rural tax. It’s not a formal levy, but rather a cumulative burden of higher living costs and limited access to essential services in rural areas. It’s always tough to be short of money, but it’s far tougher when you can’t easily access social groups, schools, affordable supermarkets, doctors, or regular public transport. Living in a rural area is significantly more challenging than urban living for those on a low income.
Healthcare access is a fundamental right, yet many in our rural communities struggle with long travel times to reach medical appointments. This places a strain on individuals and families and highlights a broader systemic neglect. The scarcity of public transport isn’t any easier to solve, but for those without private vehicles, the lack of reliable transport options can lead to social isolation and severely limited economic opportunities, especially in areas also poorly supplied with fast broadband.
The next government must consider these rural issues. While it is of course necessary to cater to the majority, continually focusing on urban areas leaves rural parts of the country behind. Tailored support for rural economies is an essential step towards creating a more equitable society. Policies should recognise the distinct needs of rural areas and not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Dorset needs a government that listens to and acts upon the concerns of rural residents. Our rural communities deserve nothing less.

Laura x

Want to reply? Read something you feel needs commenting on? Our postbag is open! Please send emails to letters@BVmagazine.co.uk

On Lyscombe
The farmland purchased by DWT was 800acres total, and the only productive agriculture done was on 300 acres of low input grassland. The farm had been organic for 30 years and has had the lowest inputs of purely cattle dung applied to it of any farm in the Poole catchment – as proved by it having the lowest score on the nitrate leaching tool.
DWT and Natural England used a different model, as if it were farmed in a conventional way. They use this model to forecast nitrogen net benefit to the harbour. This farm has never applied an optimum level of nitrogen. Furthermore, the slurry applied to the large area surrounding it remains, as they have not lowered the stock numbers of surrounding farmers. In terms of stock they removed 100 sheep and 50 beef cattle which they intend to replace to holistically graze the site.
The community wholeheartedly support a nature reserve being in the middle of the Dorset AONB and being funded with DWT money. The public should be aware the government spent £5million of their money, and if they want support from local farmers they should tell the full picture. This will have negligible effect on Poole Harbour and many, very qualified, people agree with nitrates saving being farcical. But it will undoubtably be a gain to the wildlife of the area.
£5 million may have been better spent at Wessex Water… where human slurry gets pumped into rivers!
Will Hiscock, via Facebook

Sweet Sorrow
How wonderful to discover this passionate play at the Exchange, presented by SNADS. Not one of their hilarious pantomimes, farces or murder mysteries but an exploration into bereavement. If that put you off going, what a shame! The audience was rapt, much laughter and a few tears as we witnessed a family joking around, then falling apart and finally recovering. The cast played with absolute conviction, transporting us to their real world with sincerity. I must pick out Hazel Perret and Tom Selby who were particularly impressive, being so young, grounded in the reality of difficult teenage journeys through this splendid piece.
Scene-setting via upstage film projection denoting not only location but the quips and retorts of texting was an inspired creation. A most tasteful touch was an aerial panning of Christchurch Estuary with the message of death conveyed by the music of Faure’s beautiful ‘In Paradisum’.
Can one be entertained by tears and sad emotion? Yes! It was a compellingly enjoyable deepening of life around us and, what’s more, the actors told me that they enjoyed rehearsals immensely – and it showed!
Fraser Wilson, by email


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