Tonbridge and Malling Green Party responds to the "rural manifesto" produced by Hadlow College and Rural plc

6 June 2017

Tonbridge and Malling Green Party is pleased to have received the Election Manifesto published by Hadlow College and Rural PLC.

April Clark, our Parliamentary Candidate comments:

“We agree that rural issues need to be pushed up the political agenda and we are disappointed that so few people in the other political parties and the media have addressed the pressing issues within this vitally important area so far in this election campaign.

“Recognition of the centrality of the environment and the need to protect ecosystems while developing an economic model based on the fact that we live in a finite world is central to everything the Green Party does and this key realisation informs all our policy making.

“More specifically, the need to take practical steps to ensure our food security and protect and encourage a diverse ecology is vital to all our futures. But rural communities face very specific challenges of their own which the next government needs to address as a matter of urgency. Not least amongst these are rural poverty, a poor transport infrastructure and, in many places, non-existent bus services, the lack of affordable housing and poor rural broadband which acts as a serious block to economic development not just for food and farming based industries but for all businesses and households in rural areas.

“Add to this post-referendum uncertainties around seasonal migrant workers, the effect that the fall in the value of the pound is already having on farming and even deeper long term uncertainties, dependent on what kind of Brexit the next government is able to negotiate, and it is clear that rural issues cannot be left hanging.”

As Greens we would like to work with rural communities and stakeholders to ensure that we are able to feed ourselves without destroying the environment that sustains all of us. As we state in our Environment Manifesto:

"Our departure from the European Union presents an opportunity to move towards an ecologically sustainable farming system; one that focuses on supporting family farms and re-localising food production, thereby creating thriving rural communities. The Green Party will refocus public funding for the rural economy towards restoring biodiversity, sustainable land management and farming, improving animal welfare, and tackling climate change."

With the magnitude of the task before us in mind, we call on all parties to turn their attention to the vitally important issues here and hope that, by working together, we can build a solid national consensus that recognises the central role played by the countryside in our wellbeing and prosperity and, more importantly, takes concrete action to address its needs.

You can read the "rural manifesto" here