Soft fruit growers will launch a bid next month to turn public opinion in favour of polytunnels.

The National Farmers' Union is developing positive news stories that it will be pitching to editors in June, just as British strawberry volumes are getting into full swing.

The campaign will be designed to make consumers realise that British berries are only available in such abundance and for so long because of polytunnel use.

But organisers are also planning to highlight some of the hi-tech materials being developed to make polytunnels. These reduce glare and render the tunnels less intrusive in the rural environment.

There is growing concern that a negative perception of polytunnels could make it harder in future for growers to gain permission from local authorities to erect them.