NFU Cymru Clwyd County Chairman recently met with Labour MP, Chris Ruane on the farm of NFU Cymru member, David Gwyn Williams, Hottia Farm. Amongst the issues raised with Mr Ruane were Brexit and broadband connectivity in rural areas.
Speaking after the meeting, Paul Williams NFU Cymru Clwyd County Chairman, said: “I am most grateful to Chris for coming out to meet with us. We’ve had a positive, constructive and lengthy discussion around Brexit, and as one of the sectors most impacted by our departure from the European Union, it is vital that our voice is heard, and our needs fully taken into account in the Brexit process.
Paul Williams also explained to Mr Ruane that following recent discussions, NFU Cymru had taken the policy position that the UK should remain part of the Customs Union with the EU27, as a transitional measure, until a comprehensive free trade agreement has been reached with the EU.
Paul said: “We discussed with the importance of maintaining continued access to EU markets on our departure from the EU and that we feel that by remaining in the Customs Union it gives us the necessary time to agree a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU.”
The issue of broadband connectivity was also raised with Mr Ruane, and Paul commented: “The UK as a whole is lagging behind other countries, reportedly being 31st in the world for average broadband speed and 54th for 4G coverage. A 2016 NFU survey has shown that only 15% of farmers have mobile coverage across the farm, so it is well past time for the government to take action to bring rural areas up to scratch.
“It is also troubling that 4G coverage is being rolled out at a slower rate to rural areas and voice coverage is falling out. This is putting farmers and growers at a disadvantage when they are trying to run innovative, profitable and sustainable businesses.
Paul concluded: “I’m most grateful to Chris for coming out to meet with NFU Cymru, it’s been really useful for us as farmers to be able to raise these important issues with him.”