‘Britain’s only black farmer’ blasts RSPB and National Trust’s claims that the English countryside is ‘racist’ as ‘dangerous nonsense’

Claims backed by organizations including the National Trust and the RSPB that the British countryside is ‘racist’ have been branded ‘dangerous nonsense’ – by Britain’s only black farmer.

Wildlife and Countryside Link, a charity umbrella group, made the allegation earlier this week in evidence provided to parliament on racism and its impact on the natural world.

MPs in an all-party group have been told that the British countryside has been affected by ‘racist colonial legacies’ and ‘white British cultural values’ which prevent people of other ethnic backgrounds from feeling able to enjoy the outdoors.

But today Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones – who describes himself as Britain’s only black farmer – slammed the report as misleading and those behind it as condescending ‘white liberals’.

Mr Emmanuel-Jones (66), who has run a farm on the Devon-Cornwall border for 26 years and owns the Black Farmer food range, said organizations behind the report needed to get their own house in order on the issue first.

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - who describes himself as Britain's only black farmer - slammed the report as misleading and those behind it as condescending 'white liberals'.

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones – who describes himself as Britain’s only black farmer – slammed the report as misleading and those behind it as condescending ‘white liberals’.

Mr Emmanuel-Jones (66), who has run a farm on the Devon-Cornwall border for 26 years and owns the Black Farmer food range, said organizations behind the report needed to get their own house in order on the issue first.

Mr Emmanuel-Jones, 66, who has run a farm on the Devon-Cornwall border for 26 years and owns the Black Farmer food range, said organizations behind the report first needed to get their own house in order on the issue.

The report said the British countryside was affected by 'racist colonial legacies' and 'white British cultural values' which prevented people of other ethnic backgrounds from feeling able to enjoy the outdoors (stock photo)

The report said the British countryside was affected by ‘racist colonial legacies’ and ‘white British cultural values’ which prevented people of other ethnic backgrounds from feeling able to enjoy the outdoors (stock photo)

He told MailOnline: ‘Racism is more common in urban Britain than in the countryside.

‘I just think rural Britain is getting a very hard deal based on old-fashioned ideas.

‘I get really, really worried about groups getting together and hitting the countryside without knowing the truth.

‘These organizations need to get their own houses in order instead of chasing headlines. If you explored how their diversity was, it is unforgivable.

“They’re made up of white liberals who see blacks as victims and all that does is perpetuate the idea that if you’re black there’s a certain part of England you can’t be a part of.

‘I would say to these organizations “what are you doing to bring about more diversity”, because if you look at them, they are less diverse than most industries.

“I want to encourage other black people to go and experience the countryside and they can judge for themselves.”

The report found that the perception that green spaces are dominated by whites can prevent people from ethnic minority backgrounds from using them.

It suggested that to ensure ethnic minorities have better access to the countryside, it wants the Government to create a ‘legally binding target for access to nature’ – such as ensuring everyone has a green space within 15 minutes’ walk from their home.

Mr. Part of the Windrush generation, Emmanuel Jones moved to the UK from Jamaica as a child and grew up in Birmingham before buying his farm with proceeds from his TV career.

He was appointed an MBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honors for services to British farming and has just opened a farm shop in Brixton, South London.

Mr.  Emmanuel Jones was part of the Windrush generation and moved to the UK from Jamaica as a child.  He grew up in Birmingham before buying his farm with proceeds from his TV career

Mr. Emmanuel Jones was part of the Windrush generation and moved to the UK from Jamaica as a child. He grew up in Birmingham before buying his farm with proceeds from his TV career

He has previously appeared on Sky News' press preview and the Channel 4 series Young Black Farmers

He has previously appeared on Sky News’ press preview and the Channel 4 series Young Black Farmers

Mr Emmanuel Jones said the organizations that were part of the report, including the National Trust (pictured), should 'get their own houses in order instead of chasing headlines.  If you explored how their diversity was, it's unforgivable'

Mr Emmanuel Jones said the organizations that were part of the report, including the National Trust (pictured), should ‘get their own houses in order instead of chasing headlines. If you explored how their diversity was, it’s unforgivable’

“I want to encourage other black people to go and experience the countryside and they can judge for themselves,” said Mr Emmanuel Jones

He said: ‘A lot of people say Brixton is a no go area, but Brixton and rural Britain suffer from the same prejudice.

‘When I opened my farm shop there, people raised eyebrows because people wouldn’t appreciate country themes, but the reception was brilliant.

‘It’s trying to break the stereotype that if you’re from a certain community, you’re only interested in cheap low quality products.’

Charities directly supporting the report include the League Against Cruel Sports and The Countryside Charity, formerly the Council for Preservation of Rural England.

Froglife and the Bat Conservation Trust also support the report, presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community, chaired by Labor MP Clive Lewis.

Using evidence from environmental experts such as that at Link, MPs will issue recommendations on the topic this spring.

The group said ‘our policy recommendations ensure that all people have the right to a healthy natural environment – ​​all people should have access to nature’.

But it added: ‘Racist colonial legacies continue to frame nature in the UK as “white space” and people of color as “out of place” in these spaces and the environmental sector.’

Wildlife and Countryside Link's chief executive is Richard Benwell (pictured), a former Lib-Dem prospective parliamentary candidate

Wildlife and Countryside Link’s chief executive is Richard Benwell (pictured), a former Lib-Dem prospective parliamentary candidate

The Links report said: 'Racist colonial legacies continue to frame nature in the UK as 'white space' and people of color as 'out of place' in these spaces and environmental sector' (stock photo)

The Links report said: ‘Racist colonial legacies continue to frame nature in the UK as ‘white space’ and people of color as ‘out of place’ in these spaces and environmental sector’ (stock photo)

It continued: ‘Cultural barriers reflect that in the UK it is white British cultural values ​​that are embedded in the design and management of green spaces and in society’s expectations of how people should interact with them.’

It said the perception that green spaces are dominated by whites could prevent people from ethnic minority backgrounds from using them.

The report suggested that to ensure ethnic minorities have better access to the countryside, it wants the government to create a ‘legally binding target for access to nature’ – such as ensuring everyone has a green space within 15 minutes walk from their house. .

Last year the then environment secretary Therese Coffey promised that the 15-minute walk to the countryside would be government policy. But it has since been abandoned.

The report also claimed: ‘The UK’s role in the European colonial project has also driven the current climate and nature crises.’

Link’s chief executive is Richard Benwell, a former Lib-Dem prospective parliamentary candidate.

Charities directly supporting the report include the League Against Cruel Sports and The Countryside Charity, formerly the Council for Preservation of Rural England.

Froglife and the Bat Conservation Trust also support the report, presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community, chaired by Labor MP Clive Lewis.

Using evidence from environmental experts such as that at Link, MPs will issue recommendations on the topic this spring.

This is not the first time that the British countryside has been accused of being hostile to its ethnic minorities.

The Hate Studies Unit at the University of Leicester has launched an inquiry into ‘rural racism’.

The Muslim Walkers group said that rural areas were seen as unwelcoming and off limits to minority communities, while the University of Reading claimed that the countryside was out of reach for non-whites as there was a ‘threat of hostility’ towards them.

Link’s Mr Benwell said: ‘Unfortunately, evidence shows that people of color in the UK are more likely to live in areas with less green space and are more heavily polluted, while at the same time they are significantly less likely to visit natural spaces.

‘There are several complex reasons behind this, as well as contemporary well-documented experiences of racism that people encounter. Access for all and addressing the obstacles people face should be one of the guidelines for all nature sites.’