The Countryside is the backbone of our identity says Charles

Love them or loathe them, the Royal family are a British Institution. And although some people think they shouldn’t be allowed to express a view on public life, sometimes their interjections are welcome.

Take for instance Charles’s recent guests editorship of that staple of rural Britain, Country Life.

To celebrate his 65th birthday, the Prince was invited to edit an edition of the magazine last month and discuss the issues he considered most pressing.

Described by editor Mark Hedges as possessing an ‘unconditional passion for the countryside’, the Prince described it as “the unacknowledged backbone of our national identity” and as “precious as any of our great ­cathedrals”.

We erode at our peril, he wrote.

A firm supporter of farming, Charles expressed concern it was one of the least desirable careers to young people and that the average age of a farmer is 58.

He added: “It cannot be right that a typical hill farmer earns just £12,600, with some surviving on as little as £8,000 a year, whilst the big retailers and their shareholders do so much better out of the deal, having taken none of the risk.”

As a fuel company that has served farmers and rural communities for more than a century, we welcome the Prince’s views on the matter. They come from a position of knowledge and insight and inform the ongoing debate about how the countryside will develop in the future.

All of us, urban and rural dwellers alike, benefit from an economically healthy countryside. Whether you like to visit it or not, the chances are a great deal of the food you eat is produced there, and as such it is good to see sensible and passionately held viewpoints expressed on the matter, no matter where they may come from.