Sherwood MP Mark Spencer leads Westminster debate

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SHERWOOD MP Mark Spencer led a Westminster Hall Debate on the ‘Effect of Domestic Land Use Policy on Food Prices’. Mark highlighted the increase in the average weekly shop and addressed how current planning policy, with specific reference to the Green Belt, could help us curb those increases.

Mark said: “Food prices have risen in real terms by 12 per cent over the last five years and Which? estimate the average cost of a shopping bill is now £76.83 per week, an increase of £5.66 compared with a year ago; there is no doubt my constituents are feeling the pinch.

“The global outlook is grim as increasing fuel costs, global demand and climate change force prices up but I do believe that we can take steps at home to cocoon ourselves from some of the economic blows by producing as much of our food as we can at home either for ourselves or to sell.

“The percentage of agricultural land in the UK has dropped from 39% in 1989 to 25% in 2009 and it is now more vital than ever that we protect what food producing land we have and almost 70% of green belt land is used for farming.

“The point of today was to emphasise to the Minister [Nick Boles] one simple message on behalf of Sherwood: Brown field before Green Belt. Planning policy cannot reverse food prices but it can protect the agricultural food producing land that we still have and help us build a safety net for tougher times ahead.”