Paul Madeley has been a chartered surveyor for more than 20 years, and he believes there is a lack of understanding of the rural communities and farming at top level politics in the UK.
Ahead of Thursday’s General Election, Paul has implored the next government to really think about the future of the rural areas.
“The problem recently has been that it’s all been about chasing votes for parties, and the rural and farming communities are a pretty small voice really,” said Paul.
“But actually the rural economy is an integral part of what any government might want to achieve in the future, and I think politicians need to understand that across the board.”
Paul believes issues such as planning red tape are damaging the rural economy.
“If we look at planning as an example,” said Paul. “It has now been made so complicated by red tape and it needs to be made easier. Local councils up and down the country are in a real mess.
“When I first started you could have planning permission for a development in two months, and now you’re lucky if it’s four.
“The issue with this is that it is stifling potential of land in rural areas. People are now being put off these developments such as diversification or things like barn conversions, which these farms and rural businesses need to survive.”
Paul believes there are many misconceptions about farming, and says that many farmers are already working towards being sustainable.
“We see lots of images of damaging farming practices in the US and South America. What people don’t realise is that a lot of British farmers, including my clients, are already doing a lot to help tackle climate change,” says Paul.
“In order for this good work to continue the farming community need to be helped.”