By Ruth Tyler, Property Correspondent
Thatched roofs are to be banned by meddling EU bureaucrats – because they pose a fire risk.
Thousands of quaint Suffolk cottages owners will be forced to replace the pretty thatch with ugly tiles by 2018.
The straw-topped, picture-postcard cottages have been part of the idyllic Suffolk scenery for centuries.
But Brussels has ruled that not only is there a fire danger, but the pollution from such blazes threatens strict environmental control targets.
UKIP slammed the news as yet more “barmy” Euro behaviour, while the Tories said they would overturn the decision if re-elected to power.
Owners of the 309,000 Suffolk thatched cottages on the EU hit list will be able to claim from the EU Central Bank for the cost of the work, plus any compensation for the loss of their property value.
But there will be no such compensation for skilled thatchers, who will need to re-train as tilers.
Bulgarian EU spokesman Wastov Uremunee said: “We don’t want to see any more dangerous fires in the Suffolk countryside.
“Furthermore, the smoke from these blazes ruins the atmosphere and gives people living in the countryside asthma.”
Suffolk UKIP member of the European Parliament, Colonel Roger Tweed, fumed: “This is barmy, yet another ridiculous EU law.
“Suffolk is known throughout the country for its lovely thatched cottages – we will fight this every step of the way.”
One furious cottage owner, Pamela Bush from Tannington, said: “They will remove my thatch over my dead body. My husband loves it.”