On the Marsh

Neatly bundled reeds

Cut to length, left out to dry

Thatch; grown in Norfolk

n.b. About 90% of thatching material used in the UK is imported. The renewable roofing material, best suited to the temperate climate of these islands, is that which is grown here in the same environment as the buildings it will sit on. The health and quality of the reeds to be used can also be assessed by the thatchers before purchase. However, ‘cheaper’ (lower priced) reeds are bought in from South Africa, a country struggling with a history of colonial resource exploitation and appalling housing issues in the townships, where these renewable materials might be better used locally rather than shipped off to the UK. The price will not reflect the true cost to the environment of long distance shipping, nor the loss of local resource to the producer country, nor the loss of skills and devaluing of the resource in England if reed growing for thatching is undercut by cheap imports – although Brexit’s impact on Sterling’s value may balance that up a little (as long as there are still reed cutters in business to supply the products),


CLP 16/09/2019

Published by

Christopher Perry

Liberté, Equalité, Humanité