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Professor Nick Bosanquet and Andrew Haldenby vividly highlight the impending emergency in world food stocks and the urgent need to increase arable planting (“Act now on food stocks to avert famine”, Letters, April 12). This is a need we in the UK are disregarding.

The land in south Lincolnshire and much of East Anglia is first-class arable acreage. During the second world war emergency produce from these fields was critical to the nation’s survival.

In the immediate postwar period, any planning application for building development had to show that it was directly related to the needs of agriculture.

That rule was subsequently scrapped, with the consequence that large tracts of arable land have been covered with bricks and concrete quite unrelated to agricultural need. To make matters worse, the expected rise in sea levels as the century goes on, threatens to take away even more of this valuable landscape.

Population growth — rarely mentioned — is another aggravating factor.

The nation has fallen into the easy belief that there is plenty of supply from abroad, so why bother about the fate of UK arable land. I believe that is a grave mistake, which the government should urgently address, perhaps in conjunction with its climate change strategy.

John Tippler
Spalding, Lincolnshire, UK

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