At its Autumn Conference in Sheffield, the national Green Party voted to adopt new policies to address the challenges facing rural communities, as well as strengthening protection for habitats and wildlife.
Our new policies aim to revitalise the rural economy without resorting to inappropriate and damaging development.
People are rightly horrified by the Coalition’s proposals for a National Planning Policy Framework, which would simply give developers a green light to concrete over our countryside.
We would strengthen planning controls for large-scale or damaging land-use changes in rural areas.
In addition, we reaffirmed our complete opposition to any sell off of Forestry Commission land or other public woodlands.
Our policies will support rural communities, create new employment, protect services and ensure that any development is appropriate, sustainable and provide real benefit to the local community.
The Green Party wants to increase agricultural employment through better access to land for new entrants and to securing long term local markets.
Its policy also recognises the potential of non-agricultural rural enterprise, including recreation and tourism, renewable energy, home working and internet-linked enterprise.
Helping to develop these sectors will help to end the reliance on low pay and seasonal work typically found in agriculture and will help the employment prospects of young people.
To address the rural housing shortage, the Green Party proposes a Rural Housing Agency to keep under review housing needs and to support imaginative schemes to meet these needs in a sustainable and affordable manner.
The Greens also want to see more Government action to stop the loss of essential facilities like health centres, schools, and post offices.
We recognise that policies that may work in urban areas can be inappropriate in rural areas.
The drive for so-called efficiency is leaving many rural communities with inadequate access to basic facilities. Our policies aim to reverse this trend and reinvigorate rural life.’
Green Party Convenor for Derbyshire Dales