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With the debate underway about how to support and fund our countryside post-Brexit, new polling shows that the British public clearly back continued funding to preserve and manage the countryside.

Polling more than 1,500 people, the research was commissioned by the CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, in order to highlight the level of public support which exists for continued investment in the countryside post-Brexit.

More than eight out of ten people surveyed, or 84 per cent, thought the government should spend money on preserving and managing the countryside, with 61 per cent saying that there should not be a reduction in the current spend of £3billion per year.

Just over a quarter, or 27 per cent, said the landscape was the feature they most enjoy about visiting the countryside, and 44 per cent knew that farmers and landowners are responsible for managing it. Some 40 per cent believe that the current spend is the right amount of public money to spend on the countryside and a further 21 per cent thought it was not enough.

Of the people surveyed, 42 per cent thought food production should be one of the top priorities for government investment in the countryside with flood management, enhancing wildlife and planting trees coming close behind.

The CLA is currently running a campaign which aims to unite people who love the countryside, and believe investing in it should remain a national priority for the government.

CLA president Ross Murray said: “Managing the landscape, producing quality food and planting trees bring benefits to every person who lives in, works in, or enjoys visiting our countryside - but these benefits require investment. Our survey has shown just how important investing in the countryside is so that we can continue to eat nutritious and wholesome food, breathe clean air and enjoy a rich diversity of wildlife and it is reassuring to see that so many people have given a clear endorsement that the countryside matters to them.

“We have a unique opportunity post-Brexit to ensure farmers and landowners are better recognised for undertaking this vital work. The CLA has set out a vision for a land management contract as a new way to deliver what is needed, using public money more cost-effectively to reward land managers for this wide range of public benefits. We will be promoting the contract to the government over the coming months to help develop a new food, farming and environmental policy.

“Now is the time to take action. If you believe in a vibrant, living and working countryside then you believe the countryside matters."

The CLA's campaign can be found at thecountrysidematters.org, on Twitter with @clatweets and using the hashtag #thecountrysidematters.