Farming and the environment are not just important for our constituency, but are also very important for me personally. We need to maintain our rural environment as best we can and manage our development properly, because once it is gone, it is gone forever. We are so lucky in our part of Hertfordshire. It is beautiful and green, with fantastic countryside. Indeed, the countryside and landscape is one of the main reasons why many live here and want to bring up their children here.
There has never been a time when the agricultural industry has figured so high on the political agenda, and when decisions within Government will impact more on those living and working in rural areas.
I hosted a barn meeting in Gosmore, a small village just south of Hitchin, with local farmers, rural agents, and conservationists, to discuss both national and local issues that are dominating the conversation – from Brexit, to rural crime, how to increase access for ramblers, and how to keep improving the relationship between local farmers and local schools. I also brought one of my senior colleagues, Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee, and a key political influencer at the heart of Government. As a lifelong farmer himself, with an unrivalled understanding of the wider policy landscape, he brought his unique perspective to us on these issues. I learnt a huge amount from both those who attended, and from Neil. Thank you for sharing your experiences. BBC Look East also covered the event – thank you also for coming and publicising the discussions.
Huge thanks goes also to Tom Williams from Maydencroft, the rural landscaping and farming business, for hosting us in his fantastic 16th century barn!