Wales issues guide: Rural affairs

Responsibility for rural affairs has been devolved to the assembly government. It oversees policies relating to farming and Wales' countryside economy.

Here are the priorities of the four main parties.

Election issues 2011

Rural affairs

Conservative

Labour

Liberal Democrats

Plaid Cymru

  • Create a rural charter to guarantee all rural communities are easily able to access public services.
  • Give communities the opportunity to take over the running of local facilities such as village halls, community centres, pubs, and post offices - assisted by tailored business support.
  • Protect public access to woodland. Prioritise new forestry planting in areas where it delivers maximum benefit, such as reducing flooding risk and enhancing biodiversity.
  • Develop a planning policy that gives rural communities more of a say, including the release of more land for affordable housing.
  • Work to overcome specific challenges facing rural services, public services and access to services.
  • We will work to improve the rural economy and use the rural development plan to provide more diverse economic opportunities.
  • Seek to ensure fast broadband is made available to more rural areas.
  • Build on the rural health plan, providing flexible approaches to the delivery of services.
  • Fight for continued support for farmers in Less Favoured Areas.
  • Support Welsh food producers.
  • Reform the Glastir programme. Re-open applications for the programme and ensure as many farmers as possible have access to the scheme, as well as setting a realistic target for the number of applications.
  • Fund the Air Ambulance to provide a full, seven-day-a-week service.
  • Review the cost of delivering services in sparsely-populated areas and reforming government grants accordingly.
  • Pass a Community Bill of Rights, which will arrest the decline of rural communities. The Bill would strengthen the powers local authorities and community councils have to ensure that they can thrive despite economic and social changes.
  • Continue to fight for a strong Common Agricultural Policy and to maintain the direct payments to Welsh farmers.
  • Further develop the promotion of Welsh produce and pilot the 'square meal, square mile' initiative to support local food systems.
  • Develop the Young Farmers Entrants Scheme to increase the number of younger people going into farming.
  • Continue the comprehensive approach to eradicate bovine TB.
  • Radically overhaul the planning system to encourage the development of a low carbon economy, encourage business growth and create sustainable and modern communities.

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