New man at the top for regional rural business group

A regional rural pressure group has appointed a new man to its helm.

Lord Barnard, of the Raby Estates in County Durham, has been named president of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) in the North East.

The announcement was made at the annual general meeting of the branch, which was held at Raby Castle near Staindrop last month.

CLA national vice-president Mark Bridgeman said: “I am delighted to welcome Lord Barnard as our new president in the North East.

“He joins at a time when membership continues to go from strength to strength in the region and on a national basis, where our members are responsible for managing more than 10 million acres of land.”

Lord Barnard takes over the role from Northumberland landowner John Anderson, of Kirkharle.

The meeting was attended by dozens of farming and landowning members from across the region.

Mr Bridgeman, who farms on the Northumberland coast near Alnwick, also updated members on the CLA’s latest work.

This included updates on lobbying campaigns on issues such as broadband, rural housing, farming payments and compulsory purchase.

The meeting was held ahead of the referendum on Britain’s exit from the European Union, and members were told there were four key areas of the decision that could affect farmers – trade, direct support, regulation and the labour market.

The CLA is due to publish its recommendations for farming and the rural economy for life outside the EU.