Oxfordshire’s rural businesses could look forward to a much better new year, if national and local government took action to solve some key issues for the countryside, says newly elected CLA Oxfordshire branch chairman, Richard Binning.
Richard Binning says his top five new year resolutions for Government would make a significant difference to many of the landowners, farmers and rural businesses represented by the CLA in Oxfordshire.
- Bonfire of the regulations: every rural business from farming to cottage rentals seems to be a constant battle of new schemes and bureaucracy – PAYE, EPCs, RPA to name just a few of the acronyms flying around our farm office.
- Rural services: at a recent joint CLA/NFU meeting with the Thames Valley Police, it was good to hear a continued commitment to rural areas – these services are an important part of a thriving rural economy – but the police need the resources to do their job.
- Planning: the gates may have opened for big housing schemes, but many landowners still face tough planning decisions on one off barn conversions, smaller housing schemes and change of use for diversification.
- Bovine TB: this is an increasingly hot topic in Oxfordshire and a problem that is not going away. We need to find a way to get on top of it now.
- Brexit: we need resolution and clarity from Government about trade, regulation and subsidy. There are important decisions to get right with regard to trade and transition and we need a dedicated strategy that targets investment at supporting farmers to be more resilient, productive and profitable.
Richard Binning adds: “There is much we can do as a sector to prepare for the challenges and opportunities ahead, especially as we get closer to Brexit, but we also need Government to provide us with the tools and support we need to prosper.”