THE Chairman of the Government's Countryside Agency, Sir Ewen Cameron, yesterday called for new action to help people living in the rural fringes of big towns and cities - an area described last year as a "war zone" by farmers' leaders.
Speaking at the National Groundwork Conference, which is discussing future government policies in rural areas, newly knighted Sir Ewen urged the forging of new links between town and country - "it is time to strike while the iron is hot," he said.
People living in rural communities on the urban fringe have for years suffered vandalism, crime, and fly dumping. Farmers have lost livestock worried by dogs or even malicious injury from airguns, which led to the "war zone" protest.
Yesterday, Sir Ewen called for major regeneration work on the urban fringes after pointing out that the average visit to the countryside by towns people involved a round trip of just five miles - and that some of the worst run-down council estates had been built next to open countryside.