Looking Positively at Rural Change

Speaking at the packed annual Bucks Rural Affairs Group conference on 24 November, the Rt Hon David Lidington MP spoke passionately about the impact of international, national and local change to rural life, reviewing impacts ranging from Brexit and farm funding reform to the increased use of IT in our lives.

Chaired by Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher Lord Lieutenant, theconference brought together people interested in rural strategy for Bucksto hear speakers from government policy heads at CPRE, Local Nature Partnership, The Chiltern Conservation Board and the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner. The event, organised by the local rural community council, Community Impact Bucks, was designed to consider rural change and how communities could respond.

“It was really interesting to hear all the speakers but David Lidington was able to add a national and international dimension looking at potential benefits for rural communities of inevitable change that included new jobs, industries, affordable homes. The message was clear: rural communities in Bucks will need to adapt and take advantage of new opportunities.” said Nick Phillips, CEO Community Impact Bucks.

Other speakers included Belinda Gordon, Government Policy Advisor to CPRE who spoke about the great benefits of green spaces and the pressure these areas are increasingly under from physical infrastructure as well as from aircraft and traffic noise and light pollution; Lucy Murfett, Planning Officer at Chiltern Conservation Board who spoke about the 300% increase in domestic planning applications in the Chilterns over the last few years and Anthony Stansfeld, Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner who spoke about the great impact of crime in rural areas and how the Thames Valley Police were prioritising rural crime as a key pillar of their work.