THE Countryside Alliance has launched its manifesto ahead of the Senedd elections on May 6.

The rural campaigning organisation has put forward key asks to develop thriving communities, grow the rural economy and to manage and harvest the countryside to help Wales recover from Covid-19.

Among the asks directed at the next Welsh Government are assurances that rural crime will be taken seriously and that the impacts it has on rural communities is understood and tackled, as well as re-assessing the current broadband and mobile phone connectivity across Wales, identifying the areas that have little or no coverage and to prioritise connecting them digitally and implementing a country sports tourism strategy to bolster the rural tourism trade.

The manifesto also pushes for political parties and candidates to recognise and support the importance of wildlife management as well as the value of hunting, shooting and fishing to the Welsh rural economy.

Rachel Evans, director of Countryside Alliance Wales, said: “The last couple of years has brought about a sea change, with bold ambitions for a green recovery.

“A green recovery is only possible with the continued contribution and commitment of our farmers, gamekeepers and riverkeepers. Their work needs to be understood, appreciated and championed by future Members of the Senedd to enable them to continue to operate sustainably with the resources available and to meet the challenges Covid-19 has brought Wales.

“I urge the people of Wales to turn out to vote on May 6, we must ensure that we make our voices heard and pay attention to the candidates that will best represent the interests of the Welsh countryside. The next five years are crucial for the countryside and future Members of the Senedd will hold much of the responsibility of making good our aspirations for thriving rural communities.

“The Welsh countryside is a national asset for all the people of Wales and key to our future prosperity, it will be in the hands of every newly elected member to deliver opportunities for prosperity and we very much look forward to working with returning and new members.”

The full manifesto can be read here.