Mark Bridgeman from Northumberland was elected (today 14 November) as the 54th President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), the membership organisation representing 30,000 rural businesses in England and Wales.
Mark Bridgeman, who farms on the Northumberland coast near Alnwick, said: “I am delighted to be appointed to this role at a time of great change within the agricultural and rural sectors. There are many challenges ahead, and I relish the prospect of representing members within the region and nationally.
“Lobbying on behalf of our members, who are responsible for managing more than 10 million acres of land, I will continue to seek greater clarity from a future government in relation to policies that can support farmers and landowners in a practical manner. Of course, this will be in tandem with our ongoing lobbying efforts on key rural issues such as broadband, rural housing, planning, farming payments and a future farming and food policy.”
Launching the CLA’s Rural Powerhouse campaign earlier this week, Mr Bridgeman said: “At a time when political tensions are high, we are standing up proudly to say that we believe in the potential of the rural economy, and we are here to champion it. It is an opportunity to champion a brighter future for farming, for our environment and wider land use and for investment in rural communities. I look forward to leading the Association as we play our role in shaping policy at this crucial time of continuous political change.”
The Rural Powerhouse calls for a fully connected countryside, a planning system designed for rural communities, profitable and sustainable farming sector, investment in skills and innovation and a simpler tax regime in order to unleash the potential of the rural economy.
For the last 14 years, Mark has managed the Fallodon Estate in Northumberland. It consists of an in-hand farm, let farms, woodland and biomass, tourism, let properties and housing development.
Mark Tufnell from Gloucestershire was elected as Deputy President, and Victoria Vyvyan from Cornwall, as Vice President, the first woman to be elected as an officer.