The new Chairman of the Kent branch of the CLA, Charles Tassell, believes food security, climate change and public access to the countryside will dominate the rural agenda in the county over the next few years.
Mr Tassell replaced Gary Walters at a committee meeting yesterday (Wednesday), in one of the most important rural roles in the county.
Mr Tassell’s family farm is in Ulcombe overlooking Headcorn and the Weald of Kent, run alongside his brother. Going back a generation they were a traditional Kent family farm of around 500 acres with top and soft fruit, hops, potatoes, sheep and arable, and over time the focus has shifted to arable and many of the buildings have been converted into office units.
Mr Tassell is heavily involved in Kent life, and his other roles include Director of the Kent County Agricultural Society, Kent Chair of the charity Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI), Vice Chair of the Kent Wildlife Trust, and Chair of East Kent LEADER.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the number of visitors to the county’s rural areas has markedly increased. While the CLA and farmers welcome the public, the countryside is a working place and needs to be enjoyed responsibly.
Mr Tassell said: “Going forward I see access to farmland being a massive challenge, alongside the part we as landowners and managers will increasingly play in the problems of food security, climate change and biodiversity loss, which will take up an increasing amount of time for the CLA in Kent and nationally.
“I’d like to thank Gary for his endless CLA work over the last few years, a great achievement alongside his successful expanding business interests at Highland Court Farm near Canterbury. He has calmly guided the Kent branch of the CLA through the various trials and tribulations, not least the pandemic.”
As Kent branch Chairman, Mr Tassell will be representing hundreds of landowners, farmers and rural businesses across the county.
We wish to place on record our sincere thanks to Gary Walters for his tremendous work, ideas and enthusiasm over the course of his chairmanship. We are delighted to welcome Charles Tassell into the role and look forward to working closely with him over the next few years.