COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE

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Communities

Britain’s countryside was created and is characterised by its strong rural communities, and the Countryside Alliance is campaigning hard to ensure their future. Any number of issues threaten their survival, and we lobby to ensure that any legislation passed promotes a sustainable countryside for both those who live in rural areas and those who visit them. In this section you can read about various topical issues of interest to rural communities from Policing to broadband, 4G, planning and affordable housing.

Communities:

Digital apartheid still evident in rural broadband services

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Countryside Alliance welcomes the latest report from Ofcom on UK fixed-line broadband performance, which was released today (15 April 2014). The report contains good news for urban and suburban users, showing average broadband speeds increased by 3.1Mbit/s in the six months to November 2013. However the UK picture is uneven, Ofcom reports, with households in rural areas experiencing considerably slower speeds.

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HS2 must demonstrate clear and outstanding benefits or should be scrapped

Monday, 7 April 2014

The Countryside Alliance welcomes the Environmental Audit Committee’s recommendations in its report published today (7 April) and agrees that “everything possible is done to minimise damage to ancient woodlands and SSSIs by the HS2 high-speed rail line and that where loss is genuinely unavoidable, that compensation is applied to the fullest extent possible”.

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UK tops broadband table but rural reception still lags behind

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The UK now leads the EU's five biggest economies for roll-out of superfast broadband, the Government has announced today (12 March). The OFCOM European Broadband Scorecard report shows that the availability of superfast broadband has increased in the UK from around 60% at the end of 2011 to 73%.

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New report shows a cut in VAT could boost economy by £15bn

Monday, 3 March 2014

The Cut the VAT campaign has been calling for a reduction in the rate of VAT on the labour element of domestic repair, maintenance and improvement (RM&I) work. Since work began, the EU has changed VAT law to allow Member States to permanently reduce VAT in this area in order to support economic growth. On 3rd March the campaign launched new research “VAT reductions in the housing renovation and repair market’ in Parliament. The report shows that a cut in VAT would stimulate the UK economy by £15bn and create a total of 95,480 extra jobs by the end of 2020.

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Broadband event in Newmarket - 21st March

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Struggling with poor mobile phone signal or slow broadband in East Anglia? Then come along to a rural connectivity summit in Newmarket on 21 March. Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman is hosting the event at the Bedford Lodge Hotel, from 4.30-8pm. Find out when your village will get broadband, grill BT and county councils over rollout of services and find out how to improve your mobile signal. Places are limited so book yours by emailing george.freeman.mp@parliament.uk

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New guidelines bring heavier fines for fly-tipping

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

On Wednesday 26th February, BBC news online reported: Courts set to impose bigger fines for fly-tipping.....People caught fly-tipping in England and Wales are to face the prospect of heavier fines, under new court sentencing guidelines. As well as fly-tipping, nuisance offenders whose crimes involve noise, smoke or carry a health risk will also be hit by the harsher fines. The new guidelines have been set out by the Sentencing Council. It said it wanted magistrates to make more use of the "highest levels of fines". Read the story in full here. 

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New National Rural Crime Network launches

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

A new National Rural Crime Network, endorsed by eighteen (18) of the UK’s Police and Crime Commissioners has been set-up to help tackle rural crime more effectively in England and Wales. A further 8 Commissioners are considering joining the group which could bring the total to around two thirds of PCCs across the two countries.

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Government Go Ahead for New Cormorant and Goosander Management Plan

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Congratulations to the Angling Trust which has sent us the following press release: The Angling Trust has concluded negotiations with the Government on the implementation of new measures, announced last year, to improve the protection of vulnerable fish stocks from predation by cormorants and goosanders. The Trust has been campaigning for more than three years for a change to the current bureaucratic and ineffective licensing regime that governs the lethal control of these birds, which can eat between 1 and 2 lbs of fish every day, collectively more than 1,000 tonnes every winter.

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Baroness Mallalieu QC

Lobbying Bill passes in a "bad day" for democratic engagement

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Yesterday the Government in the Lords ensured the defeat of amendments which would have gone some way to protect the rights of charities and campaign groups like the Alliance to campaign on our members’ interests. The final vote was a dead heat, but in such circumstances the rules dictate that the Government wins. Countryside Alliance President, Baroness Mallalieu QC, who also served on the Commission for Civil Society and Democratic Engagement sums up the feeling of all those involved. She comments: “While all our work and campaigning over recent months has forced the Government to make some significant improvements, the Bill remains badly drafted and will be hugely damaging to democratic engagement in this country.

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"Intrusive Footpaths" gives right of way advice

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Intrusive Footpaths is a campaign group fighting for the rights of people who have public footpaths running through their properties. Their mission is to change the law on rights of way, so that members of the public can file legitimate claims against footpaths intruding on their homes, gardens and driveways. The group says: "In 2000 the Government passed legislation granting walkers access to thousands of acres of land. Considerations were written into law to ensure the security and privacy of those properties which might be affected by the new‘right to roam’. These considerations involved making sure that all new access areas did not cross or meet with properties so that access for the public was kept at a reasonable distance from homes. However, no consideration was given to relocating existing footpaths that DID meet and cross homes. No thought was or continues to be given to those who have footpaths running directly through their homes. There are many homes that are affected by this oversight." Country Life has reported on the group's mission - click here. Visit the official website at www.intrusivefootpaths.org.uk

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