Leaving the EU provides us with an opportunity better to protect vulnerable habitats and species. Wildlife Management is essential in maintaining a healthy balance of wildlife in the countryside and for achieving the biodiversity and landscape goals set out in the 25-year Plan.
- Review wildlife management laws ensuring that all wildlife laws are based on sound science and evidence and that a consistent and principled approach is taken across all species.
Rural communities pay as much, and often more, per head of population for policing and they deserve equal treatment to their urban counterparts. Coupled with them having no confidence in the police’s ability to respond to their needs compared to the nation with only 27 per cent of rural residents saying their local police are doing a good job the Conservatives must take rural crime seriously.
- Fair funding for policing to ensure the sparsity factor is recognised which will ensure the police are able to tackle crimes in remoter communities.
Food and Farming is a £108 billion industry. Britain has the best produce and it is essential that consumers know when they buy British and that they are supporting British farmers. Food labelling will also help improve tourism expenditure on food and drink – an industry that supports 81,000 jobs and contributes £1.5 billion GVA to rural economies in England.
- Mandatory country of origin labelling is needed to ensure a level playing field for British farmers after we leave the EU.
Post-Brexit the UK has an opportunity to renew its approach to the countryside. Earlier this year the House of Lords Rural Economy Committee called to ‘rethink and reform’ how Government engages with rural communities. We agree with the Committee that rural proofing needs to ‘re-energised’ and replaced with a ‘”place-based” approach which reflects the diversity of our countryside and the capabilities and knowledge of those who live and work there.’ This would ensure that issues in the countryside, that are often more complicated than in urban areas, are tackled appropriately, and crucially, resolved. A similar conclusion was reached by the House of Lords review of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act.
- Rural communities’ needs should be at the heart of policy making in government. The responsibility for promoting and embedding rural proofing should therefore sit at the heart of government in the cabinet office. This will ensure the necessary resources and experience required to exert influence across government
Create access to Financial Services in Rural Areas
Rural services are the glue that holds rural communities together and with an increasingly ageing population and lack of access to those services can lead to increasing levels of rural isolation and loneliness. The Conservatives must safeguard essential rural services such as post offices as they are much more than just a place to post a letter.
- Post Offices must remain at the heart of rural communities by becoming the true front office of government through the expansion of personal and business banking services, ensuring access and delivering a much needed social service to rural communities.
Illegal hare coursing is a leading concern for land managers in rural areas as is the impact of sheep worrying on the welfare of livestock. This was confirmed by the National Rural Crime Network’s latest survey and the National Rural Crime Strategy identifies poaching as a priority.
- Improve the welfare of animals by ensuring that the police and courts have the powers and resources to tackle the scourge of poaching and sheep worrying.