Prime Minister Boris Johnson has responded to complaints from TV personality Jeremy Clarkson that the government is not prioritising farming.
In a video addressed to No 10 and posted on his social media accounts, Clarkson said: “Hi, I am Jeremy Clarkson and in the next Parliament I would like to see the government prioritising farming.
“We have been asked to diversify and when we try to do that the local authorities tell us we can’t. That needs addressing.”
In response, the PM said the government is supporting farmers to “unlock the potential of their new land and seize new opportunities”.
He said the government will “ensure that when farmers want to develop their property when they want to turn the barn into a bistro or whatever you want to do, that we make sure that computer does not say no, we help them.
“And help farmers to make most of that of their crops and make the most of that land as well.”
The former Top Gear presenter is referring to an application he submitted to his local authority to trap and sell crayfish from his farm.
He had planned to sell “glorified prawn cocktails” at his Diddly Squat shop – where he films his Amazon Prime TV show Clarkson’s Farm – to help fund a lake restoration programme,
However, American crayfish, such as those found on his farm, are classed as non-native and cannot be trapped without consent from the Environment Agency.
Because of this, the government places strict controls on who can remove them from rivers and it is a criminal offence to do so without permission from the EA.