Countryside organisations’ statements following the general election

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What did countryside and shooting organisations have to say about the general election? Read on for statements from BASC and the Countryside Alliance following the general election

Tim Bonner from the Countryside Alliance wrote: There is a theory that says the first polls of an election are the best indicator of the final result, and that all the noise and effort of the campaign make next to no difference. You will not hear many people promoting that theory this week.

Today’s election results saw very few rural constituencies change hands, but the countryside was one of the few areas of stability. The Conservatives lost seats in towns and cities, especially in the Midlands and South, and lost their majority too. Theresa May has, however, set about forming a Government with the support of the Democratic Unionists.

This Government will be of profound importance to the countryside as the future of our trading relations with the rest of the world and the management of our countryside are decided in the next five years.

20 years ago this summer I was farming in North Devon and caught a rather aged coach to Hyde Park in London to join 125,000 others for the rally that formed the Countryside Alliance. We could never have predicted what has happened in the past two decades. Then again we could never have predicted what has happened in the last two years either.

The only thing that is certain is that the countryside is, and will be, far better off for the work of the Alliance and all those who have campaigned with us over that time.

The Alliance’s focus in the new parliament will be firmly on Brexit and the creation of a British agricultural policy, much complicated as it will be by political uncertainty and the huge complication of running a minority Government. We certainly live in interesting times, and it is in such times that organisations like the Alliance earn their corn.

BASC released the following statement: BASC is committed to working with the new government to ensure that shooting’s value to rural communities is recognised and that its contribution to the UK economy is acknowledged.

Shooting is worth an estimated £2 billion to the UK economy and supports the equivalent of 74,000 full-time jobs. That contribution to the health of the nation must be protected.

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The General Election result adds uncertainty to the political landscape, but BASC has an excellent record of working with parties of all colours to protect shooting’s interests. Those efforts will continue apace in the coming weeks and months.

In the run up to the election, BASC asked its members to use its dedicated website to lobby candidates and to help establish their position on shooting. The information we received from that process will now be used to ensure we build relationships with those who are new to Parliament to ensure we influence decisions that affect shooting and help shape the future for the rural economy and rural communities.

BASC will be seeking early meetings with Ministers. Achieving positive outcomes for shooting remains BASC’s single-minded focus and we will work with all sides in this Parliament to achieve results which benefit shooting.

We are ready to work for our members whatever developments there are in the coming days.