Hard working farmers in South Gloucestershire have been given a major boost thanks to a campaign by a team of local councillors.
South Gloucestershire Council’s opposition Conservative Group tabled a motion at last night’s Full Council meeting calling on the authority to do more to support the local farming community.
In the South West, farming contributes around £1.6 billion to the regional economy and directly employs more than 66,00 people. The Conservative Group’s motion sought to recognise the contribution made by farmers to the local and national economy, and the importance of farming to rural communities in South Gloucestershire.
The motion called for the Council to undertake the following actions:
- To develop stronger partnerships with South Gloucestershire’s arable, livestock, and dairy farmers in order to enhance our countryside and support farmers by promoting local produce.
- To support our local farmers by, where possible, ensuring that all food provided at events organised by the Council is sourced from local suppliers.
- To consider ways to encourage residents, where possible, to shop locally, taking advantage of home-grown, affordable and nutritious food, both plant and meat based, thus helping the environment and boosting the local economy.
- Ensure local planning policies benefits all our communities and takes into account the welfare of farmers and rural communities while being sympathetic to diversification and helping to facilitate the transition to net zero.
- To consider launching a communications campaign to encourage behaviours that respect the countryside and contribute to its long term sustainability.
The Conservative Group also voted to set up an immediate Task & Finish Group to look at the issue in more detail to see what else can be done to support the farming community.
Cllr Ben Stokes, Conservative councillor for Boyd Valley, and the councillor who proposed the motion, said: “I am absolutely delighted that our bid to encourage the Council to do more to support local farmers was passed last night.
“Members of the farming community work extremely hard to feed us and it’s only right that we recognise that contribution and seek to support them in any way we can.
“The pace of technological change across numerous industries will accelerate over the coming years and we need to ensure that farmers have the tools they need to be able to adapt to an ever-changing environment. There is a significant role for the local authority to play in making that happen.”
Cllr Becky Romaine, Conservative councillor for Chipping Sodbury and Cotswold Edge, said: “It’s vital that we recognise just how important farming is to our local economy and do as much as we possibly can, as a Council, to ensure farmers are able to thrive.
“Whether it’s buying local produce wherever you can or simply remembering to respect the countryside when you’re out and about, there’s something we can all do to help those who work so hard to feed the nation.”