Landowners lobby for rural issues in election countdown

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The CLA in the North is ramping up its rural lobbying campaign as the country enters the 100 day countdown to the general election on May 7.

The organisation, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, says it is increasing its contact with prospective parliamentary candidates to ensure that the issues important to rural people are firmly on the agenda.

CLA North Director of Policy and Public Affairs Douglas Chalmers said: “We have been contacting sitting MPs and also candidates as they become known to make sure they are familiar with our manifesto “Unlock the Countryside’s Potential”.

He continued: “There is a common misconception that the rural voice is too small to count but nothing could be further from the truth. There may be a higher proportion of voters and seats in the urban areas, but nobody should underestimate the positive impact a vibrant countryside can have on the rest of the country. Without the economic, environmental and social contributions from rural areas, the UK would be a far different and poorer place.”

The CLA is urging those who live and work in rural areas to make the most of their vote and to quiz candidates on their rural credentials. It is organising a series of hustings events next month so that members can pose questions directly to parliamentary hopefuls.

Mr Chalmers added: “Everyone with a vote should engage with their local candidates. This type of individualcontact carries tremendous weight with politicians and, most importantly, reminds them there are votes at stake.

“This election looks too close to call so every seat and every vote will be important to all the parties. We have a tremendous opportunity to make the rural voice heard.” See next week’s Courier for more on rural issues.