Maidstone East Edition Maidstone Weald Edition October 2017 May 2019 Panto ahoy!

Shooting licence ‘vital to protect songbirds’

FARMERS and conservationists are aghast at a decision to revoke shooting licences, which they claim will endanger rare songbirds. Natural England’s effective ban

THE cast of Cinderella, which is to be staged at the Hazlitt Theatre in Maid- stone, took to the River Medway to launch this year's panto. On board The Kentish Lady were national treasure Rustie Lee (Fairy Godmother), former EastEnder Ste- fan Booth (Prince Charming), Eliza- beth Bright (Cinderella), Craig Anderson (Buttons) and, pictured, Stephen Richards and Adam Bor- zone (Ugly Sisters) . They were greeted by pupils from

South Borough Primary School and members of the media. The panto runs from December 1-31. For tick- ets go to

on the control of “pest” species such as magpies and other crows will put some of Kent’s fragile populations of birds, like linnets and yellowhammers, in jeopardy. Landowners argue the decision

to ban the shooting of birds under a general licence has come at a time of year when breeding birds are nesting and vulnerable to at- tack by predating birds, which will eat eggs or young. Pressure group Wild Justice,

headed by the TV presenter Chris Packham, achieved the instant change, meaning that farmers must now hurriedly apply for an individual licence. Langley wildlife conservation-

CCTV call in a bid to stop fly-tipping

CALLS for the installation of CCTV cameras to prevent fly-tipping on a country road have been made by the local borough councillor.

ist Theo McCausland, himself a gun licence holder, said: “It’s well-intentioned and I get why Wild Justice has done it. Not the best time of year to do it, though. “Magpies and other nest-

raiders will only do what is natu- ral to them and sometimes it is sensible to control numbers. Farmers and landowners are con- servationists, not wanton killers. “It annoys me a lot that a well- educated man like Chris Packham

Burberry Lane, near Leeds and Broomfield, has been targeted by waste dumpers for years, but in re- cent months, the problem has be- come more acute. Constructionwaste, rubble, hard

core, windows and household fur- niture is left illegally – often strewn in the middle of the road. Cllr Gill Fort said: “Every month

we are having toilets, sinks and construction waste dumped in the village, specifically in Burberry Lane, where we are now thinking of installing cameras on private land, to oversee the problem area.” A recent event in Burberry Lane

saw a caravan burned out while a torched car remains on a footpath

nearby, more than a year after it was dumped and set on fire. The church car park has also seen

many instances of illegal dumping. But it is a problem in many rural

A rare linnet

would shoot himself in the foot like this, so to speak.” Marden farmer Peter Hall, of

the Target fruit and cereal grow- ing farm, told a national newspa- per that his hedgerows house the

areas including Langley, Otham and Kingswood. Water Lane in Bearsted and Pilgrims Way have also been targeted recently. Last year, Maidstone Borough Council cleared 911 cases of fly-tip- ping and this year more than 163 have been recorded since April. The approaching darker evenings will prompt a rise in illegal tipping. Cllr Fort welcomed a joint initia-

Picture: RSPB

tive by the Environment Agency and the Driver and Vehicle Stan- dards Agency to clamp down on

unlicensed waste carriers, but be- lieves the cost to small firms of dis- posing of construction waste at a transfer station is proving a deter- rent that is costing councils more. Cllr Fort made her remarks as

one of the borough’s closest trans- fer stations at North Farm, Tun- bridge Wells, announced it will be closed for 10weeks. She added: “If you go along the

line of increasing fines, they have to be enforced. A reduction in the charge or offering it free may have the desired similar effect.” Athree-monthly litter pick on the mile-long stretch of road through Leeds village produces an average 32 black sacks of rubbish.

Cllr Fort, who also serves as a

incredibly rare yellowhammers and linnets. Both species are on the RSPB “red” list. Mr Hall said: “Had this hap-

pened in December it would have been fine, but 36 hours’ warning at this critical time is not a great deal. “While once we only had a pair

of yellowhammers on the farm, we recorded 196 in one site in the course of 12 months. There are flocks of linnets, thousands of lin- nets. It is depressing – we’re not into slaughtering or the extermi- nation of anything, but we control our magpies using traps which were absolutely legal until the ban. “We did this annually for a

scant two months. This gives the songbirds the chance to have one uninterrupted clutch without it being plundered.” Tim Breitmeyer, president of

01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

parish councillor, says teaching children about social responsibility and the issue of litter in schools will help take the issue off the streets. She believes with every household receiving a weekly refuse collection service, there is no excuse for litter being thrown from vehicles or dumped in the road.

the landowners’ body CLA, said: “The abrupt halt to the licensing system leaves our members in complete limbo, unsure of what they can do to protect their crops, young livestock or farmland birds. A burdensome administra- tive process will only exacerbate the unintended consequences of an ill thought-through decision. “This time, Natural England

has to get it right and ensure that the likely flood of new applica- tions are dealt with speedily and efficiently.” Natural England said: “This is

not a ban on control, it is a change to the licences that allow control to take place.”

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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

FREE No. 246


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

Kate, 107, dies News

FREE No. 265

KATE Hart, a resident at an old people’s home in Bearsted, has died aged 107, her son David has disclosed.

HELEN Whately asked the government to halt the borough’s housing scheme.

3 MP’s Local Plan bid

Bowls club’s heroes Plans for Dr Nigel

Jason Donovan date Ann’sBrexitmove

THE former Neighbours star brings his show to the Hazlitt Theatre next May.

Prison funds row

PRISON bosses at HMP East Sutton Park have come under attack for wasting taxpayers’money.

Obituaries Obituaries

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Parish Councils 34-35

ASH dieback has been discovered in Monks Meadow in Detling; Hollingbourne village fete stall- holder co-ordinator Jean Duffy has resigned; yellow lines are needed for Buffkyn Way, Otham, to allow buses through Imperial Park; rub- bish bins in the sports field in Kingswoodare to be moved over to the picnic area and rear exit.

A WOOD chipper was stolen from a garden in Boughton fMonchelsea Lenham,


WALKERS have been warned to keep dogs on a lead in Boughton Monchelsea during lambing season; highways engineers have confirmed they will be repairing potholes in Grasslands, Langley; a second defibrillator has been installed in East Farleigh to help save people suffering a cardiac arrest; 10 street lights have been upgraded to LED in Nettlestead.

Parish Councils28-29 32

FORMER ToryMaidstone and WealdMP AnneWiddecombe defects toNigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

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‘Banksy’mystery PRIMARY pupils are hunting a “Banksy” graffiti artist who targeted their school during the holidays.

THE widow of GP Dr Nigel Minnet will walk the Grand Canyon for charity. 12

LOOSE Bowls Club remembers its soldier founders as players mark the start of their centenary season.

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Crime Reports 29 Crime Reports 35

VEHICLES have been driven over in ; farm fencing was


damge to crops; an attempted was stolen from Yalding; thieves broke into a Marden shed and stole a hedge cutter, strimmer and leaf blower; youths took money from a Headcorn honesty box.

damaged in Headcorn; a boat break-in was eported in Detling; a vehicle was vandalised in Bearsted Rd, Weavering; pumpkins were stolen

from an Lenham.

Comment 46-47 Comment 38-39

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