THE Government has promised to level up parts of the country that have been left behind in recent years.

A few weeks ago, it was announced that Teesside was to get a freeport, and the Treasury is to set up a Northern economic campus in Darlington, with hundreds of Government officials set to relocate.

But levelling up isn't just about town and city centres and urban areas. For it to truly work, rural communities can't be overlooked. This includes a greener. more environmental outlook, and better connectivity.

Adam Bedford of the NFU North East said: “In order to level up the whole area the farming communities must be included in the strategy.

“We have been working with the government to come up with ways of doing this.”

Levelling up should not only mean more support, but an increased focus on the environment.

In 2019, the NFU set an ambitious target for British agriculture to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

The UK hopes to become a global leader in new technology that allows for smarter and greener farming. This includes new breeding techniques, which have the potential to play an important role in challenging issues like improving disease resistance.

There is also a promise to boost rural internet connectivity, which would help get the countryside up to speed with major towns and cities.

Poor connectivity has put rural areas at a disadvantage. Reliable coverage and connections will benefit farming, British food production, and wider rural businesses.

Mr Bedford added: “If we don’t get rural connectivity right, like the phone networks and the internet upgrades, people might not want to move into rural areas.

“Covid-19 helped people reconnect with the countryside, but we have to do all we can to encourage people keep coming back into the countryside.”

Almost every respondent to the 2020 NFU Digital Technology Survey said access to reliable broadband and a mobile signal was essential for their business. Less than half felt their mobile signal was sufficient for their business needs, while only 40 per cent of farmers felt their broadband speeds were sufficient.