The threat of supermarket shelves being short of British strawberries next summer is waning after growers won a crucial council approval for polytunnels.

A year ago in a landmark ruling the High Court upheld Waverley Borough Council's enforcement notice for the removal of tunnels at Tuesley Farm in Surrey. However the council has now accepted the farm's case for using the structures in a ruling that will be seen as an important test case for the industry.

UK producers had warned that if they had been forced to remove the structures, any repeat of this summer's wet weather could have resulted in vast swathes of the home-produced crop being wiped out.

"The fact the secretary of state has very clearly stated that polytunnel planning laws must be determined on a local level will inject great confidence into an industry that has faced an uncertain future for more than two years," said Laurence Olins, chairman of British Summer Fruits.

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