Farmers’ Grants

Farmers will have access to a wider range of grants from 1 April with the launch of the Agri-Environment Scheme. The new scheme introduces targeted funding options that encourage active farmers to implement changes on their land with outcomes that will see an efficient and productive food chain delivered alongside improvements for the environment and actions that will mitigate climate change.

Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot said: ‘The scheme can help to deliver a viable, productive and sustainable agriculture sector for years to come while enhancing our cherished landscapes and mitigating climate change. Our hard working farmers are the custodians of our environment and this targeted support will help them play an even bigger role with payment based on results. It also supports the Island’s climate change goals, encourages habitat creation, boosts bio-diversity and delivers on our UNESCO Biosphere targets, which are core objectives of the wider department and government.’

An upland stewardship scheme will also incentivise the creation of a sustainable upland management plan to support the protection of carbon storing peat and the rare and the vulnerable plants and flowers that make the cherished upland areas so special. All active farmers are eligible to apply and can access the application form online or request a hard copy from DEFA.

Dial-a-Committee

The investigation into the DoI’s controversial on demand bus service will be questioned by a Tynwald Committee Monday. The Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee will hear from Martyn Perkins MHK, Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading and John Peet, Head of the Office of Fair Trading. The focus of the hearing will be the OFT’s investigation into demand-responsive bus services and related matters. The members elected to the Committee are Clare Barber MHK (Chairman), Chris Robertshaw MHK, and Rob Mercer MLC.

The on demand service has been highly controversial since its initial introduction in the north of the island as residents in more rural areas say it leaves them cut off while taxi drivers have said the gov subsidised service breaks competition rules.

Tenants for ex Police Station

Manx National Heritage has agreed a deal for Marlinspike Properties Limited to take over the former Police Station in Castletown.

The Former Castletown Police Station

MNH Director Edmund Southworth said: ‘The successful bidder’s proposal will facilitate the repair and refurbishment of the  Baillie Scott Police Station and subject to planning consent, provide for future public access to the building, as well as providing the potential for future community use of part of the space in the building.  The planned development in Castletown will provide a positive social and economic benefit to the town, with the additional benefit of substantial investment in essential repairs to the roof and the removal of non-historic internal additions.’

Channel Island Minister Arrested

Jersey’s now former Children and Education Minister has been arrested and bailed for what the local media are calling ‘serious’ allegations. Deputy Jeremy Maçon has also been sacked by the island’s Chief Minister John Le Fondré, who has himself taken on the running of the department. ITV’s Gary Burgess tweeted: ‘It is extraordinary for the Chief Minister to, himself, be taking on the Children and Education portfolio, a sign of the seriousness of the situation tonight.’

Turing Fits the Bill

The Bank of England has unveiled its new £50 note featuring computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing. The new note will enter circulation on June 23, Turing’s birthday. Despite his work during the Second World War led to great leaps forward for computing and science, as well helping to defeat Nazi Germany, he was later charged with gross indecency because of his relationship with another man. Given the choice of prison or chemical castration, Turing took the latter and later took his own life. A posthumous royal pardon was granted in 2013. 

The Bank of England’s new £50 note featuring Alan Turing

Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, said: ‘He was a leading mathematician, developmental biologist, and a pioneer in the field of computer science. He was also gay, and was treated appallingly as a result. By placing him on our new polymer £50 banknote, we are celebrating his achievements, and the values he symbolises.’

Vaccines Before Vodka?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has opened the door to landlords deciding whether a person will need to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid before being served in pubs. A review is looking into whether people should have to prove they have been vaccinated, as lockdown measures ease. A UK government source told the BBC that the option of allowing people to show a negative test was also being looked at. But Tory MP Steve Baker said it was a ‘ghastly trap’ and unfairly penalised those advised not to have a vaccine.

Fans Back in Grounds?

April’s Carabao Cup Final could be used as a test event for fans returning to football grounds. Plans are being made which could see up to 8,000 spectators could be in attendance for the April 25 final between Tottenham and Manchester City at Wembley. The FA is very keen to have fans back inside Wembley with the Euros starting just four weeks after the FA Cup final, which has also been put forward as a pilot event. Wembley is due to host seven matches including all three of England’s group games, a last-16 clash, both semi-finals, and the final.

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