Environment Minister Hears from the County’s Farming Network
11th May 2012
Rural policies could be shaped with the help of Lincolnshire’s agricultural industry after key leaders met with Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach yesterday (Thursday).
The Defra minister met with members of the county’s farming community in the first of a series of Rural Roadshows aimed at listening to the issues and concerns facing those working in the sector.
The idea is to give people on the ground a chance to have their voice heard within Government. The meetings were organised with the help of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), a private sector-led body which aims to improve conditions for infrastructure and doing business from the Humber to the Wash.
Ruth Carver from the Greater Lincolnshire LEP Secretariat said: “The visit from Lord Taylor is a positive step forward for our farming and rural communities. It’s important for us to help give a voice to people living and working in the area so they can make themselves heard by the policy makers and those in a position to make the changes they seek.
“Key people from Greater Lincolnshire’s rural community were able to give Lord Taylor their views on what is affecting their working practice and growth potential, such as a need to strengthen food packaging and processing businesses and strengthen the supply chain.”
The visit also coincided with applications being opened for the second round of the Rural Community Broadband Fund, a £20 million project specifically aimed at giving communities in the remotest areas access to superfast broadband.
The first wave of cash for the project, which has been jointly funded by Defra and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), is being delivered through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). It was launched in January but no communities in Lincolnshire applied at that point. However, it is expected that there will be more local interest in this second round.
Applications for a share in the £20 million Rural Community Broadband Fund can be made from now until 6th July.
Earlier this year the county was provisionally awarded a £14.3 million grant made available through £530 million of national BDUK funding to improve broadband in both rural and urban areas. Since then Lincolnshire County Council and its partners have match-funded the grant with a further £14.3 million, which was a condition of the award, with an expectation that the successful supplier/s of superfast broadband will contribute a further £28.6 million to the project giving a total project value of £57 million.
Ruth Carver added: “This second wave of funding could be the next step in helping secure vital money which will allow rural businesses and communities the chance to have access to adequate broadband. One of the LEP’s priorities is to help those projects move forward, so I’m delighted this funding is now being made available.”
Notes to editors:
More information about the fund and details on how to apply can be found on Defra’s RDPE Network webpage http://rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk/funding-sources/rural-community-broadband-fund
The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership is a new body led by the private sector which aims to improve conditions for infrastructure and doing business in the Greater Lincolnshire area.
One of the first LEPs to be established in the UK, the Greater Lincolnshire LEP covers a large geographical area with a population of over one million and a diverse range of industries, from ports and logistics to farming, tourism and engineering.
It includes North and North-East Lincolnshire and is controlled by a LEP board made up of leading figures in the public and private sector.
For more information about the Greater Lincolnshire LEP please contact Ruth Carver or Carolyn Tuscher at the LEP Secretariat on 01522 550515, or visit www.greaterlincolnshirelep.co.uk