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Devon inquiry report

Devon inquiry report

Grass-roots: a sustainable future for food, farming and the countryside in Devon and the South West is the final report of our Devon inquiry. 

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“The largest of the south west counties, Devon is largely rural and boasts two National Parks, five AONBs and two coastlines. The majority of farmland is either permanent or temporary grass with smaller proportions of arable and woodland. Food, farming and the countryside are critical to the local economy- agriculture employs around nineteen thousand people directly, to say nothing of the wider network it supports. The county is also proud of its strong local food sector as well as rural tourism and other rural based businesses. Given the importance of these sectors to Devon, we welcome the opportunity for the Commission to connect local challenges with wider national debate. It is vital we do this to ensure the county and its communities can thrive in the future. Local knowledge and local solutions should be a key part of this progress.”

David Fursdon, Commissioner and Chair of the Devon Locally Led Inquiry

Role of the locally led inquiries 

The issues covered by the Commission are wide-ranging and heavily influenced by context. From policy differences in the Devolved Nations, to cultural and topographical differences across the countries, it was clear from the outset of the Commission that seeking local perspectives would be critical. 

In England, the Commission sought to set up three locally led inquiries. These inquiries would create a frame for the counties of Devon, Cumbria and Lincolnshire to investigate the issues of the Commission most relevant to them, with the aim of stimulating local debate and informing the national Commission. 

The work in Devon (and Cornwall)

Devon’s locally led inquiry was chaired by Commissioner and Devonian, David Fursdon, who convened a group of expert stakeholders from across food, farming, agriculture, conservation, policy and health, with members from Devon and neighbouring Cornwall. This Committee identified four key issues and formed working groups to explore each in more detail: the New Entrants to Farming group are looking at career paths in agriculture in the county; the Health and Thriving Communities team are exploring the important links between our citizens’ health and the agricultural sector; the important questions of the Environment and Biodiversity will be the focus of a third group; and the final group are looking closely at challenges related to Food and Livestock farming.

The Devon Committee were ably assisted by Professor Matt Lobley and Beth Dooley from the University of Exeter who acted as lead researchers and authors of the summary reports, produced by each working group in July 2019. These reports will be synthesised into a single Devon report, designed for a public audience. This is due for publication in the autumn of 2019.

The RSA food, Farming and Countryside Commission would like the thank the following Committee members and stakeholders for generously giving their time, expertise and enthusiasm to this inquiry:

Kevin Bishop, Steve Brown, Andrew Butler, Elaine Cook, Kevin Cox, Stephen Criddle, Keri Denton, Tim Dudgeon, David Fursdon, Peter Greig, Henri Greig, Andrew Jarvis, Catherine Mead, Richard Pocock, Mary Quicke, Mel Squires, Emma Tranter.

Field Guide for the Future

Field Guide for the Future

Some of the people, businesses and organisations who contributed to Devon, Cumbria and Lincolnshire locally led inquiries are featured in the Field Guide for the Future.

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