18 May 2001
Alliance tells MPs to ‘get real’

By Isabel Davies

MEMBERS of Parliament need to “get real” about the true needs of the countryside, according to the Countryside Alliance.

The organisation has produced an election wish-list which sets out the measures it believes are needed to rejuvenate rural areas.

The 32-page policy pamphlet, entitled The Real Rural Agenda, is intended to assist voters test their constituency candidates pledges to help the countryside.

It puts forward over 100 specific recommendation under six inter-linked themes, which include the future of the countryside and country sports.

Included are calls for a public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth outbreak, and also a wide-ranging debate about the future of the countryside.

It also says there should be a Royal Commission established to look at the use and management of animals by society.

Government spending in rural areas should also be increased to bring it into line with spending in urban areas, it says.

John Jackson, Alliance chairman, said: “The countryside has been failed by politicians for many years.

“We must have a coherent strategy and a vision based on understanding before we can arrive at a rural policy which will serve the whole nation.”

Mr Jackson said government needed to understand how all aspects of rural life were inter-linked and inter-dependent.

“To undermine one aspect of rural life, whether agriculture, tourism or country sports, undermines rural life as a whole.”

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