Duke of Edinburgh voices concerns over village life

Author: By Tony Jones, Press Association

Rural settlements have changed significantly from places where farm workers
lived to providing second homes for those who are employed in towns and
cities, the senior royal stated.

The Duke’s comments were made in an extensive interview for the latest edition
of Shooting Times & Country Magazine where he suggested the butcher and
baker had been forced out of business by multi-stores.

The royal also criticised the agricultural industry, saying it was trying to
create cattle that would produce more milk for less cow “like a hat-rack
with an udder attached”, while ‘bizarrely’ milk was cheaper than bottled
water.

“The human population increase is very evident. There are so many more people
living in the country and moving into the countryside.

“The country villages have changed from the sense of being places where people
who were associated with the countryside were living and now most of them
are second homes occupied by commuters,” the Duke said.

The Prince of Wales has also voiced similar concerns in the past, commenting
on the lack of affordable village housing for local people.

Speaking in Cumbria in 2006 he said this issue could threaten the very
existence of rural communities.

Charles said: “Who will look after it all when villages are simply dormitories
to commute from or temporary bolt holes from city living?”

The Duke also talked about the loss of rural businesses that he said were the
mainstay of country life.

He said: “Villages used to have to be more or less self sufficient: they had a
butcher, a baker, a shoemaker.

“Now that has all gone because of the way retailing is concentrated in big
centres and multi-stores.

“So there has been a complete change in the population of the countryside.”

Philip has a long held passion for conservation and environmental issues and
takes a keen interest in how the royal estates are run.

He warned that some modern farming practices were having a negative effect on
wildlife and that livestock breeding processes were also producing worrying
results.

“They are constantly trying to produce cattle that will produce more milk and
less cow – like a hat rack with an udder attached,” he said.

“They can’t really go on making such a travesty of an animal, there must be a
limit to this.

“Even more ridiculous is the fact that milk is actually cheaper than bottled
water. It seems quite bizarre to me.”

The senior royal said the country’s growing population was the “greatest
problem for the future”.

Philip said: “People go on about this carbon footprint, but they fail to
realise that the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere is entirely
dependent on the number of people living on the earth.

“There are now 60 million people living in this country and we are about the
same land size as New Zealand. Their population is just over four million.

“This country had three million people in Elizabeth I’s day.”

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