Countryside Alliance (CA) members can expect a letter next week asking for a minimum donation of £10 to help fund campaigning over the ‘critical’ period up to and beyond the next General Election. The CA says this timespan represents a unique opportunity to protect country pursuits for the next generation.

CA chairman and Labour MP Kate Hoey said, ‘It has never been more important that the CA has the ability to influence public, political and media opinion. We are Britain’s best known and most effective rural campaigning group and have a unique opportunity to put the countryside at the heart of Government policy.

‘The Alliance is the only organisation campaigning for repeal of the Hunting Act and, while that would be a great victory in itself, it would also protect all the other country pursuits for a generation and open the way for policies that address the real needs of rural communities.’

The CA is preparing a rural manifesto, which calls on the next government to repeal the Hunting Act, support farmers, enable children to gain a practical understanding of the countryside, ensure a reliable rural transport network and promote local solutions to the lack of affordable housing.

The case for repeal has strengthened with the dropping of two prosecution cases recently, against the Heythrop and Devon & Somerset Staghounds.