Thank you Bill Wiggin MP for speaking of buses in rural areas.

Thinner buses, or any public transport at all, would be a wonderful thing to serve those living outside Herefordshire’s urban areas so that we reduce car dependency.

Perhaps too we should have electric car share clubs in our villages, with charging at our village halls which all have solar panels, and pop-up shops.

Lift sharing is a good solution to reduce car numbers on the roads – with modern apps like this is becoming more viable.

Perhaps too, we could have have thinner agricultural machinery moving through our rural communities which are growing at phenomenal speed to meet unrealistic expectations despite the lack of services, narrowness of our roads and fragility of the countryside.

Thinner buses, thinner tractors and much – much – fatter hedges, that’s what we need.

Certainly too, we need to support our local farmers – absolutely crucial, but we need two-way conversations here.

Farms are often in the hearts of our communities and some people struggle enormously living alongside the likes of poultry units and biodigesters where constant diesel machinery moves perilously fast to get to the next feed or extraction.

Our countryside is under enormous threat and meaningful conversations with the custodians of that fragile countryside are welcomed.

We only have to look at the phosphate issue in the Lugg and Wye rivers to know that as we all change to adapt to new lives, agriculture must play its part.

The Soil Association believes that if half of all farming in the EU converted to organic by 2030, we could cut almost a quarter of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions simply by increased soil carbon sequestration and reduced use of mineral fertilisers.

Healthy soils are a major store of carbon, containing three times as much carbon as the atmosphere and five times as much as forests.

We can all agree that Herefordshire has wonderful soil – let’s look after it.

Toni Fagan

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