Farming, flooding and the importance of the food industry to Lincolnshire were high on the agenda as Liz Truss MP, visited the county.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs met with Conservative candidate for Louth and Horncastle Victoria Atkins and the party’s candidate for Boston and Skegness Matt Wardman.
During Thursday’s visit she spoke about how important flooding protection works were across the county and how valuable Lincolnshire’s food industry is.
Other issues included broadband in rural areas such as Louth and Horncastle, protecting coastal tourism in Skegness and Mablethorpe, petrol prices and wind farms.
She said: “It was really impressive to see the work of the internal drainage boards. Matt Warman wanted me to come along and see how vital the agricultural land is here in Lincolnshire. It’s a really, highly productive area and the food industry is really important to the county.
“I’m very pleased that Lincolnshire has become one of our food enterprise aims, which is all about linking up farming with food manufacturing to capture the whole value of the chain and can produce fantastic products.”
“There are flood defence schemes in Louth and Horncastle as well.”
She added: “We are putting additional funding into broadband and we have over the course of this parliament so coverage overall has increased from 43 per cent to 80 per cent, it will be 90 per cent by 2017.”
Questioned about wind farms, always a contentious issue in the county, she said: “What a Conservative government will do is first of all we have put wind farms under local planning but also we’re ending additional subsidies so major scale wind farms are unlikely to go ahead.”
Local Conservative PCC Victoria Atkins was pleased with how the visit went.
She said: “It’s such a privilege to have the SoS visiting one of the most important agricultural areas, not just in the county but in the country. She saw the vital work farmers do to feed us all.
“Lincolnshire Farmers are robust people and I think they really valued the opportunity to speak to the SoS to let her know how things are on the ground. They were delighted to hear she and the department have been listening to the problems farmers have been having with the new basic payment scheme and have acted,
“Broadband was something I wanted to ask SoS about because although the scheme is going well there are still parts of the constituency that are not covered by basic broadband let along superfast broadband and its something people have been contacting me about a lot. I was delighted to hear in the budget the chancellor announce help for those areas that aren’t covered by basic broadband help with satellite access and so on.
“It’s because of the need to keep the rural economy going its absolutely right that we help parts that aren’t on the grid yet .
“We didn’t discuss any promises but certainly one of the things I’ll be doing is pressing the case for better roads.”
Andrew Wilson County adviser for the National Farmers Union in Lincolnshire said farmers were pleased with news about the Basic Payment Scheme and the extension of the deadline until May 15. He said farmers had been able to raise issues such as transport and infrastructure.