New rural commission to look at role of farming, agriculture and environment

Upland farming in Coverdale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The independent panel of experts tasked with helping to turn the tide on rural decline and recommend ways to help some of North Yorkshire’s most rural communities grow and prosper is to start its examinations by looking at the role played by farming, agriculture and the environment.

Established by North Yorkshire County Council – and the first of its kind nationally –  The Rural Commission operates completely independently and sets its own agenda and topics. Over the next 8 months commissioners will consider a broad range of subjects and evidence before forming recommendations for the county to consider.

Following their first meeting the chair, The Very Rev John Dobson DL, Dean of Ripon, said: “Farming and the pressures on our agricultural businesses, as well as the environment they are working in, are the topics of the moment and our decision to examine them first reflects this.

“We are very much in listening mode and want therefore to hear from farmers, local residents and businesses on those issues they believe the commission needs to consider.

“What are the key issues which affect these areas? What needs to be done to ensure they can survive and thrive looking 10, 20 and 30 years ahead? Do you have practical ideas?

“We will be listening carefully to a broad range of views and considering the evidence so that later next year we can pull this baseline together and make meaningful recommendations on a vision for the future.

The commissioners will hear some evidence in person but will also be examining submissions made via email to

Guidance on the best way to submit evidence and opinions, raise points of interest or highlight matters of importance is available at

The first evidence session will be held in December. Subsequent subjects and calls for evidence to support the commission’s work will follow.