Scottish Countryside Alliance Urges Rural Representatives to Hear Local Voices


Call for Action from Rural Politicians

The Scottish Countryside Alliance has issued a plea to rural MPs and MSPs, urging them to genuinely consider the perspectives of their constituents, particularly those of farmers and land managers. The alliance stresses that the voices of the rural population are often overlooked, with representatives frequently aligning with party policies instead of the interests of the people they serve.

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Legislative Concerns and Rural Credentials

A recent contentious issue is the proposed ban on wood-burning stoves in new-build homes across Scotland. Gillian Martin, MSP for Aberdeenshire East and climate change minister, has been criticized for failing to ensure that the government will reconsider this policy, which has already inflicted financial damage on related businesses. The Scottish Countryside Alliance highlights the disconnect between the proclaimed rural credentials of MSPs and the legislative decisions that negatively impact their constituents.

Economic Impact on Rural Businesses

Since the introduction of the New Build Heat Standards on April 1, 2024, businesses associated with wood-burning stoves have reported significant financial losses, totaling around £100,000. This figure underscores the tangible consequences of policies that do not account for the realities of rural economies.

Government Pledge for Collaboration

Jake Swindells, Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, references First Minister John Swinney’s commitment to foster collaboration, particularly with other political parties. Swindells emphasizes the need for the government to represent the interests of all sectors of society, not just a select few. The alliance advocates for engagement with sector professionals and genuine bipartisan efforts in policymaking.

Challenges Facing Rural Scotland

The alliance highlights several critical issues facing rural Scotland, including fuel poverty, depopulation, healthcare accessibility, and employment challenges. It contrasts these pressing concerns with the government’s focus on large rural estates through the Land Reform Bill, which the alliance believes could undermine essential employment and training opportunities in isolated communities.

Advocacy for Evidence-Based Policy

The Scottish Countryside Alliance calls for meaningful cross-party work on significant legislation, urging the Scottish government to base decisions on well-researched facts and expert opinions rather than the agendas of non-governmental organizations. The alliance is reaching out to all general election candidates to engage with it and its partner organizations, promoting a more inclusive and fact-based approach to policymaking that truly represents rural interests.

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