Election special – UKIP 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 UKIP

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

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UKIP is the only party committed to preserving the green belt and green spaces intact for future generations. The government has no credible brownfield strategy, nor can it guarantee that thousands of properties currently destined for the countryside will even be affordable, let alone desirable.

Do you believe that the ban on hunting with hounds should be repealed?

UKIP has no plans to repeal the ban nationally. However we believe strongly in local democracy, so our policy is for this matter to be decided by local referendums on a county basis.

How will you improve rural broadband access?

We would work with companies specialising in fast broadband for rural locations, using wireless technology to provide coverage to areas where there are few landline possibilities, and with companies developing newer technologies for radio broadband.

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

To follow the advice of veterinary opinion and not the demands of pressure groups. The culling of badgers in Ireland allows this particular policy to be evaluated. It is showing promise so far. We believe that vaccinating badgers on the ‘edge’ zones using volunteer labour will help stop geographical spread of bTB.

How will you stimulate the rural economy?

To deregulate the burdens placed on farming and other small businesses by EU legislation. We want to see much wider delivery of broadband into rural areas. We would amend National Planning Policy Framework to protect scenic areas and stimulate local tourism.

How will you improve rural transport links?

The quirks of countryside life mean no two cases are the same – these have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Giving everyone access to an affordable and reliable public transport network is a priority. Taxpayers should not be penalised for living in rural areas when it comes to public services.

What is your approach towards HS2 and HS3?

HS2 and HS3 should be scrapped immediately. They have no business case and leave us with massive debt. The threat of HS2 is destroying people’s lives and their communities. We should concentrate on improving existing rail infrastructure.

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

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UKIP is the only party that seeks to protect the green belt and areas of natural beauty. We believe that the National Planning Policy Framework planning rules have been disastrous and should be changed to prioritise building on brownfield sites before building on green belt land.

Read the responses made by other parties.