CLA launches EU election manifesto to shape rural policy

30 April 2014

The CLA has set out its vision for rural policy in its manifesto for the European Parliament elections. The manifesto is being sent to all South East candidates ahead of the poll on 22 May.

The association is also urging voters in rural areas to quiz candidates on their commitment to serving the countryside.

In Enabling the Countryside to Thrive, the association makes practical recommendations to improve the rural economy in three areas: prosperous rural business, innovative food and fibre production, and proactive support for the environment.

CLA Director South East Robin Edwards said: “Whether it’s the economy, the food we eat, or the environment we live in, the EU affects us all. Our manifesto calls for widespread reform to enable the UK countryside to thrive, and will remind candidates of the real issues facing rural areas.

“Rural businesses matter. They provide jobs and generate income. However, poor infrastructure and technology is a major frustration that undermines their growth.

“MEPs need to recognise the specific needs of these businesses so that issues such as poor broadband do not stifle the rural economy.”

“The world’s population is increasing by 75 million people every year, creating an ever increasing need for food. If this need is to be satisfied, MEPs must take a less risk-averse approach to exploring new technologies and biotechnologies while addressing the imbalances in the food supply chain.

“With 60 percent of people now living in urban areas, the cost of public services such as the protection of landscape and heritage provided by landowners and land managers in the countryside is often undervalued.

“The newly elected European Parliament must recognise that, through biodiversity offsetting, land managers can get the support they needed to deliver a better environment so we can have the wildlife and habitats we all want.”

Read Enabling the Countryside to Thrive, the CLA’s manifesto for the EU elections here.