CLA meets with Carlisle MP John Stevenson

The CLA, along with a small group of CLA members, held a meeting with Carlisle MP John Stevenson, kindly hosted by Toby Mounsey-Heysham at Castletown House in Rockliffe.

The CLA, along with a small group of CLA members, held a meeting with Carlisle MP John Stevenson, kindly hosted by Toby Mounsey-Heysham at Castletown House in Rockliffe.

John will also be standing as a Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in the same constituency, albeit expanded to take in a larger rural area at the impending General Election.

The purpose of the meeting was for the CLA Director North Lucinda Douglas, along with a small group of farmers and landowners, to raise various farming and concerns of those living and working in rural areas as well as government policy matters impacting the rural economy. The meeting also afforded John Stevenson an opportunity to set out his vision for the constituency with a view to the next General Election.

Discussions specifically covered related issues and included:

  • A simplified planning process, including a specific ‘ask’ related to frustrations with the planning process, policies and a tax regime to enable landowners to facilitate the creation of energy infrastructure in rural areas including pressing on Distribution Network Operators (Electricity North West) to increase capacity on the grid.
  • The lack of accreditation schemes relating to Biodiversity Net Gain and Nutrient Neutrality which would enable landowners and farmers to connect with the private sector more effectively.
  • Improving water quality in Cumbria’s rivers
  • Agricultural sector issues such as trade agreements, food standards and food security and international trade agreements
  • Agricultural Transition – the move away from Basic Payment Scheme reduction in farm support payments, and the replacement Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme needing to provide long-term certainty to support farming income streams, in addition to the funding support disparity between England and Scotland
  • Obstacles to economic growth in rural areas locally, and more generally, with a specific focus on planning issues relating to affordable housing, infrastructure, electricity grid capacity, skills and employment issues.

CLA Director North Lucinda Douglas said:

“Our meeting with John was constructive with the recognition that farmers, landowners and rural businesses contribute and provide many employment opportunities and are an integral part of the constituency and Carlisle City’s prosperity and future economic growth. The meeting highlighted the need of landowners and farmers to have greater certainty on government policies that would be conducive to investment.”

“Most of the issues discussed centred around land use, particularly considering the balance between farming, producing food to feed the nation and looking after the environment. Farmers simply want to fill food baskets and look after the environment, as well as helping create energy solutions in the region and beyond.”

“Enhancing farming support, infrastructure and policies conducive to rural economic development should be front and centre in the run-up to the next General Election, and any party that comes up with a genuinely ambitious plan for rural areas would, I suspect, win a great deal of support.”

Key contact:

Henk Geertsema
Henk Geertsema Acting Regional Director, CLA North