Election special – Plaid Cymru policies on rural issues

With a General Election looming on 7 May, we asked the political parties to set out their policies on eight key rural issues that affect the countryside in 2015. Here are all the responses made by Plaid Cymru

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Should some areas of green belt be built on to increase supply of housing?

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Brownfield sites should always be prioritised for development over greenfield sites. Plaid Cymru believes the green belt should be afforded greater protection against unnecessary development.

Do you believe that the ban on hunting with hounds should be repealed?

Plaid Cymru allows its elected members to vote freely on matters relating to the banning of fox hunting. The most recent vote took place in 2004, in which the majority of our MPs voted against the ban.

How will you improve rural broadband access?

We are committed to providing superfast broadband to 100% of Wales. We believe that mobile data networks should be forced to offer roaming to ensure all parts of the country have access to high speed data signals.

What are the best ways to tackle bovine TB in cattle?

Plaid Cymru is committed to allowing the vaccination programme underway in Wales to run its course in order that we can learn lessons about the process and its effectiveness. This does not mean we rule out a limited cull in future, but we will be guided by the best available science.

How will you stimulate the rural economy?

Superfast broadband and 4G mobile data would open doors for rural businesses to reach far beyond the local area. We would reduce the burden of business rates and lower the cost of fuel through cuts to fuel duty.

How will you improve rural transport links?

We will open stations where there is demand and ensure rural road and rail infrastructure is up to standard. Rural areas suffer disproportionately from cuts to bus routes. We have committed to restoring bus funding.

What is your approach towards HS2 and HS3?

Wales should receive its fair share of the investment spent in England on HS2 and HS3, which, according to the Barnett formula should be around £4bn. This would enable us to invest in the Welsh transport network.

Are there instances where development should be stopped to protect wildlife or biodiversity?

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Wildlife and biodiversity must be valued as integral parts of any healthy functioning ecosystem. The planning system should reflect this and the impact of development on wildlife and biodiversity should be considered in any planning proposals.