CLA set to launch ‘Countryside Matters’ campaign at Suffolk Show

Ben Underwood, east regional director of the Country Land and Business Association.

Ben Underwood, east regional director of the Country Land and Business Association. - Credit: Su Anderson

Regional landowners’ leaders have chosen next week’s Suffolk Show to launch a new campaign highlighting the importance of the countryside in the run-up to the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU).

Country Land and Business Association (CLA) East wants to mobilise public opinion in East Anglia in favour of supporting investment in the countryside post-Brexit.

As well as garnering public support, ‘The Countryside Matters’ campaign, to be launched on Wednesday, May 31, aims to educate people about the important benefits delivered by a working countryside, from supplying affordable and nutritious food through to promoting natural storage and cleaning of water and maintaining habitats for wildlife.

CLA East regional director Ben Underwood said there was “no better” place to launch the campaign in the region than in Suffolk which is famed for its spectacular countryside and thriving rural communities.

“The British countryside is the eighth wonder of the world and the envy of many,” he said.

“It provides us with a large proportion of the food we eat and the water we drink, it cleans the air we breathe and sustains a rich diversity of wildlife. These features bring benefits to every person who lives in, works in, or enjoys visiting our countryside.”

“But there is a risk once the UK leaves the EU. It is vital for the Government to treat farming, the rural economy and our landscapes as a public investment priority. Money can be spent in new ways to deliver better outcomes for the economy and environment.

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“If you believe in a vibrant, living and working countryside then you believe the countryside matters.”

The countryside should be a government priority, and investment in it provided returns that benefited everyone, he said.

“We will be out engaging with thousands of people during the summer show season across the eastern region and talking to politicians and other influencers to press home the countryside matters message.”

The CLA is encouraging the public to get behind campaign by signing up at www.thecountrysidematters.org and backing the campaign on Twitter @clatweets and tweeting why the countryside matters by using the hashtag #thecountrysidematters.