Anglia Rural Consultants | Our vision
Anglia Rural Consultants (ARC): driving rural business forward.
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Anglia Rural Consultants (ARC)

2030 Vision for the East of England Rural Economy

ARCs Vision is to promote sustainable development across the East of England by helping agricultural and rural business clients increase productivity through harnessing natural assets, scientific knowledge and technology to maximize the opportunities the 21​st Century offers.

 

ARC will support businesses to achieve the vision by integrating and developing economic, social and environmental priorities and objectives for clients to achieve sustainable development. 

An Overview
The East of England Rural Economy will face significant challenges and some opportunities as a result of the UK leaving the EU. The pandemic of Covid-19 has further impacted those that live and work in the rural economy to an extent nobody could have predicted.

 

These are compounded by differences in the rural economy and population growth between the north and south of the region; from the North Norfolk coast to the South Essex countryside, from the most remote rural areas to the most heavily populated.

 

The ARC 2030 Vision for the East of England recognises the multiple pressures that those who live and work in rural communities will face.

Rural enterprises play an important economic role. They contribute to our national prosperity and wellbeing but are often a blind spot within government rural and wider economic development policies.

 

This Vision responds to a number of key challenges and opportunities facing the rural economy.

The Threats Facing Our Rural Economy

An ageing population and workforce on farms, with the younger population moving out of farming and out of the rural areas.

Poor digital connectivity, both mobile and broadband coverage in rural areas.

Prohibitive planning regulations (particularly in the south of the region).

A lack of access to relevant skills and business support.

Climate change - the risk of flood and drought, leading to crop diseases, reduced yields and plateauing yields of main agricultural crops.

Poor quality soil and polluted water sources.

The impact of Brexit and uncertainty with international trade deals.

The fragility of the supply chain and food security.

The impact of reduced footfall allowed onto farm or tourism business due to Covid restrictions ( farms dependent on seasonal/migrant labour and/or farms which have diversified into out of the home goods and services selling direct to the public (agri-tourism, visitor attractions, farm shops, home and garden etc.)

Mental and wellbeing – agriculture is an industry that businesses work in isolation; compounded by “lockdown” measures in 2020 particularly for young people confined to small, dispersed communities.

Lack of consistent support for rural development.

The Opportunities For Our Rural Economy

Our farmland has the potential to be highly productive across the East of England.

The increasing demand for renewable energy.

Determine alternative use of crop bi-products tobiodegradable products.

Harnessing of new technologies and developing productive farming on a range of different scales nationally.

Adding value to primary agricultural production to utilise opportunities and support to develop new products and strengthen supply chains.

Development of redundant farm buildings for office/meeting/living space, commercial workspace and tourism activities.

Business support for all rural businesses and providing vocational training programmes to meet 21st Century market demands.

Increased demand for home visitor market: “the staycation” requiring improvement of tourism infrastructure to meet the needs of visitors.

Improvement of tourism infrastructure to meet the needs of visitors.

Maximization of opportunities in the East of England’s highly developed, world-leading scientific research base.

Exploitation of regional rural businesses willingness to innovate.

Grow consumer awareness of food quality and its impact on health.

Local community and partnership working to support rural development.

ARC aims to ​improve the economic sustainability of the East of England through the following objectives:

By supporting rural businesses with advice and peer to peer support responding to the needs and challenges they face in the post-Brexit/Covid-19 era to advance resilience and recovery.

By ensuring that skills needs are identified, and training is provided accordingly, utilising a variety of methods to ensure new knowledge and skills are embedded fully ensuring that business and personal development are achieved.

By enabling access to innovative sources of finance.

By identifying new markets to develop and enhance local supply chains and networks.

By promoting opportunities to develop and market tourism proposals, including environmental tourism, outside the region’s traditional tourism locations.

By promoting and facilitating agri-technology which supports the Government’s UK target of zero carbon by 2050.

By promoting innovative uses of recyclable raw materials for modern-day use.

ARC aims to enhance the diversity of rural communities in the East of England through the following objectives:

By providing training to support farm production and the development of supply chains.

The promotion of live/work units and shared occupancy workspaces for small and start-up businesses.

By establishing collaborative community food plans to help inform and implement national food strategies and meet the different needs of communities around the UK.

ARC aims to ​protect, promote and sustainably utilise the area’s natural assets to support the East of England’s long-term growth and the challenge of a zero-carbon economy by 2050. ​To be achieved through the following objectives:

By improving water storage and management, to create sustainable resources.

By reducing pollution by supporting new technologies.

By supporting and promoting environmental measures as a core theme within all business’ development activities.

By supporting measures which enable land users to collaborate and mitigate against carbon and climate change.

By supporting research, development and the uptake of innovation and technologies.

Implementation and Opportunities
ARC has a deep understanding of the issues that face the rural economy and the different sectors it supports, including food, farming, forestry, tourism and agri-tech.

 

ARC supports the development of the rural economy by working in partnership with organisations who are leaders in their field, to develop projects which will drive forward rural businesses in the East of England.

To support the priorities and objectives as identified in this vision ​ARC can ​assist its clients, who will range from rural businesses to government bodies, ​through:

Providing sustainability appraisals using methodology, processes including benchmarking and local knowledge.

Carrying out rural proofing to assess the impacts of policies on rural economies within for local and regional strategy decision-makers.

Helping develop and deliver future rural strategies.

Providing expertise and advocacy.

Providing mentoring, support and training.