On Tuesday 8th January a small group representing Essex Rural Partnership met with David Heath CBE MP, Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This group included Nick and Suzanne from RCCE.
The Minister had a pre-arranged visit to Docklands that morning and requested that he visit Essex Rural Partnership (ERP) during the afternoon, in his quest to meet with groups which are members of Defra’s Rural and Farming network.
The ERP Steering Group determined a short agenda of key issues that they wished to raise, and appointed a small group to meet with David Heath on Tuesday. The meeting was kindly hosted at Ingatestone Hall and attended by 3 Defra officers who accompanied the Minister and 6 people representing ERP (Nick and Suzanne from RCCE, Cllr John Jowers and Philip Wilson from Essex County Council, and Rosemary Padfield and Dominic Petre representing rural businesses and landowners).
Issues on the agenda included affordable rural housing, fishing and coastal communities, and relations with other strategic bodies, particularly in a landscape following the abolition of the regions.
The meeting was interesting and useful and RCCE was pleased to be involved, as both a member and facilitator of ERP.
Thanks go to David Heath for taking the time to visit Essex and to Dominic Petre for allowing the use of Ingatestone Hall as a venue for the meeting.