2012 will be a year when organisations representing rural interests will have to work together to ensure that the needs of the countryside weigh equally with urban issues in the Heart of the SW Local Enterprise Partnership – and the CLA has a crucial role to play in making that happen.
That was the message this week from the chairman of the Devon branch of the CLA, Laura Leigh, who said that the year ahead would also bring fresh challenges for Devon in the formation of grassroots opinion on CAP reform, planning, taxation, food and farm security, and broadband provision.
“The roll out of the new superfast broadband network will also present the challenge of ensuring that adequate coverage is provided to all rural as well as all urban areas. Looking ahead it is clear that bovine TB and reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy are coming to a head and 2012 looks like defining years for both.
“The CLA Devon committee works hard to represent the interests of our members via the region, through our national team and on to Government – but our ability to do so relies heavily upon our own local knowledge and the feedback we get from our members at a county level.
“In these difficult economic times, belonging to the CLA is still incredibly good value. Access to our advisors or a conversation with one of our experts may well provide information that could cost an arm or a leg elsewhere – so I advise everybody involved in rural business or the land based sector to make membership of the CLA a priority in the coming year,” she said.