Countryside Alliance - News Latest news Countryside Alliance News Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:52:26 +0100 Digital apartheid still evident in rural broadband services Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:52:25 +0100 Countryside Alliance Communities The Countryside Alliance welcomes the latest report from Ofcom on UK fixed-line broadband performance, which was released today (15 April 2014). The report contains good news for urban and suburban users, showing average broadband speeds increased by 3.1Mbit/s in the six months to November 2013. However the UK picture is uneven, Ofcom reports, with households in rural areas experiencing considerably slower speeds. Natural England Consultation – your voice is needed Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:41:40 +0100 Countryside Alliance Campaigns - Shooting Natural England’s Consultation on General and Class Licences closes on 19th May.  The consultation seeks views on a number of proposals and topics relating to those licenses and any changes made as a result could come into effect on 1st January 2015. A number of proposals would benefit the sensible control of pest species, but there are also many that would not – such as removing the jackdaw, jay and collared dove from General Licenses, and the need to have taken "reasonable steps and appropriate steps, such as scaring" before shooting pigeons. A copy of the Country Alliance’s response to Natural England’s consultation is available here . All those with an interest in the sound management of our countryside are urged to respond to the consultation. The closing date is 19th May. Even if you cannot respond in full please email Natural England and express your support for our submission. Email Natural England at Read more on our views here. Our submission to the RSPCA prosecutions review. Fri, 04 Apr 2014 14:48:34 +0100 Countryside Alliance Campaigns - Hunting In December 2013 the RSPCA announced a review of its prosecutions policy, to be led by Stephen Wooler, a former Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate. It was announced that Mr Wooler would spend four months examining how and why prosecutions are taken. His findings will most likely be published in the middle of 2014. The Countryside Alliance met with Mr Wooler and gave him the below submission which makes clear our view that investigation and prosecution are two separate issues and prosecution should not be the first step. Jamie Foster, the solicitor advocate who acts for hunts, has written an article on the review (click here to view) which appears in our Spring 2014 magazine. We will keep you updated on Mr Wooler's findings in due course. It’s ‘game on’ at the award-winning Colstoun Cookery School Wed, 02 Apr 2014 14:14:27 +0100 CA Scotland News Politicians Iain Gray MSP and Fiona O’Donnell MP will prove they are “game” to learn a new skill on Friday (4 April) when they take part in a cookery course at the Scottish Countryside Alliance Award-winning Colstoun Cookery School in Haddington, East Lothian. Colstoun are the Scottish champions in the start-up category of the 2013 Awards and will travel to Westminster on 30 April to take part in the national finals. In celebration they have invited Mr Gray, Ms O’Donnell, John Macmillan of East Lothian Council, Jamie Stewart and Charlie Shentall of the Scottish Countryside Alliance and Sarah Ingham, head-teacher of local school the Knox Academy, to get hands-on in the kitchen. Countryside Alliance AGM & Annual Report Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:29:05 +0100 Countryside Alliance Join us - members benefits and offers The Annual General Meeting of the Countryside Alliance will take place on Tuesday 10 June at 12pm at the Union Jack Club, Sandell Street, London, SE1 8UJ. The Annual Report  and Accounts are contained as part of the mailing of the Spring magazine which has been circulated to members and contains a ballot paper. All paid-up members of the Countryside Alliance are welcome to attend the meeting.  Although there will be no Board Election this year, members are being asked to vote on a resolution to enable the Countryside Alliance to apply to the Charity Commission to become a charity. This is explained in greater detail by Executive Chairman Sir Barney White-Spunner in the Annual Report - click here to read the report. Members can vote online here. Comment on death of raptors in the Highlands Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:58:11 +0100 Campaigns-Shooting The Scottish Countryside Alliance is shocked and concerned by reports of the death of 13 birds of prey in 10 days in an area of the Highlands. Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, Jamie Stewart said: “We fully support Police Scotland as they investigate this case and will wait for their results before jumping to conclusions as to what caused the death of these kites and buzzards. “However we do not condone the actions of those who kill birds of prey and if it is proved that these birds were killed deliberately then we hope that those people responsible will feel the full weight of the law. E-petition on ownership and use of .22 calibre Rimfire pistols Mon, 31 Mar 2014 09:52:22 +0100 CA Scotland News E-petition on ownership and use of .22 calibre Rimfire pistols NEW Scottish Countryside Alliance Meat Selection Box Fri, 28 Mar 2014 11:37:45 +0100 CA Scotland News NEW Scottish Countryside Alliance Meat Selection Box The Scottish Countryside Alliance and the good folks at KEZIE have team up again to bring you a seasonal offer not to be missed… This mouth-watering selection of meats has been jointly hand-picked by the SCA team and our adventurous friends Kezie to include only the very best Exotic Game Meat. A tribute to Rural Oscars Judge and countryside champion, Clarissa Dickson Wright Thu, 27 Mar 2014 09:44:41 +0100 Countryside Alliance Awards CA Awards News The countryside has been saddened by the news of the death of our great friend and Rural Oscars judge, Clarissa Dickson Wright. Clarissa was our longest serving judge - a fact of which she was extremely proud - and her stalwart support for our food producers and rural businesses will be missed very much. We are proud to have had Clarissa as a judge, her instincts were always spot on and she always revelled in the decision making process followed by the celebrations at Parliament when she got to meet so many rural business men and women - leaving them all starstruck. Clarissa was a public figure who was beloved by many, and we pledge to continue her work, fighting for fair food labelling and speaking out on behalf of our hard working rural businesses. Clarissa's great friend, Countryside Alliance President Baroness Mallalieu, has written a touching tribute and you can read it in full below. E-petition on ownership and use of .22 calibre Rimfire pistols Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:26:39 +0100 Countryside Alliance Campaigns - Shooting You are invited to sign an e-petition which has recently been launched and which states: "We the undersigned respectfully petition the Government to amend the Firearms Acts to allow the ownership and use of .22 calibre Rimfire pistols for competitive sporting purposes in England, Wales and Scotland." The epetition's wording goes on to "ask that the sport of target pistol shooting be once more permitted under the existing Section 1 Licencing scheme, thus allowing a much loved and all inclusive sporting discipline to flourish once more." Read more and sign the petition here.  Routes to Rural Employment - R2RE Mon, 24 Mar 2014 15:48:13 +0100 Article   The step by step journey from education to employment is one of the key moments in a young person’s life. It is a journey that for all too many rural Scots is broken by the lack of sustainable local employment opportunities. It is in the common interest and for the benefit of the Scottish public from all walks of life that we ensure our young people have the choices and chances to enable them to reach their full potential. Giving our young people the opportunity to channel their talent, enthusiasm and energy into sustainable and rewarding employment is critical to Scotland’s future economic success. The labour market in Scotland is in a continuous process of change, with a much smaller number of jobchangers and therefore fewer job vacancies, compounding the fact that employers seem less likely to hire people seeking a first job. The struggle to find work is the very real challenge many young Scots face with unemployment sitting at around 20.5% it’s never been more difficult in recent memory to find a job in Scotland. SCA Manifesto Sun, 23 Mar 2014 14:00:41 +0100 Article Following a year of re-structuring and focus, the Scottish Countryside Alliance has published their aims, and intentions for the foreseeable future. With clear definition the SCA intend to use their considerable resources to to help strenghten Scotland's Rural Communities, their businesses, education and fieldsports - This document is designed as a discussion brief and all comments will be welcomed. To download the pdf Please Click here SCA Rural Hero is for 2013 is....... Thu, 06 Mar 2014 10:51:10 +0100 Article If you chose to google hero you will read a variety of definitions but in essence a hero (masculine) or (feminine) refers to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self-sacrifice—that is, heroism— And the Local Food Rural Oscar goes to......... Thu, 06 Mar 2014 10:47:26 +0100 Article On paper this should be one of the easiest categories, shouldn’t it? We can all judge good local food with some authority can’t we?I have to say that in the end it came down to the glowing reports from both the customer nominations and the judges who visited and experienced the service first hand.  And the Butcher Rural Oscar goes to......... Thu, 06 Mar 2014 10:44:07 +0100 Article If I have given the impression that the judging for the Scottish Countryside Rural awards had been difficult, I was being economical with the truth, it has been incredibly difficult and as we reach the butchers category, it just got harder