False assumptions do a disservice to Yorkshire’s rural heartlands – The Yorkshire Post says

Tom Heap (left) is a presenter of the BBC's Countryfile.  Byline: Charlotte Graham
Tom Heap (left) is a presenter of the BBC's Countryfile. Byline: Charlotte Graham
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TOM HEAP, the BBC Countryfile presenter, is right to highlight misconceptions about farming – and the need for a greater appreciation of the “entrepreneurialism” of people who work in rural areas.

Even though this is a key part of the remit of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – the clue is in the name – it appears its priorities still appear to be predominantly animal welfare and campaigns to cut plastic use.

Theresa Villiers is the new Environment Secretary.

Theresa Villiers is the new Environment Secretary.

Why John Craven is one of the countryside’s finest champions as he returns to his roots for Countryfile – The Yorkshire Post says

Yet, while the main issues featured on its website are important, such as World Elephant Day and a record-breaking year for hen harrier breeding, it should be going out of its way to promote every aspect of the rural economy from farming to the sustainability of local communities.

John Craven on growing up in Leeds, his love of Yorkshire and working on Newsround and Countryfile

If Defra cannot lead from the front – Theresa Villiers has been a very low-key Environment Secretary since she was appointed by Boris Johnson – this country will not fully utilise the ingenuity that Mr Heap has highlighted.

Is the Government doing enough to support farmers and the rural economy?

Is the Government doing enough to support farmers and the rural economy?

‘Brexit no-deal could put over half of UK farms out of business’

Of course, this is not helped by the uncertainty over Brexit and the approach which will be pursued by Ms Villiers – one of the Cabinet Ministers who campaigned to leave the EU during the 2016 referendum.

The MP for Chipping Barnet in north London, it can only be hoped that she is spending her time visiting farmers, and touring the countryside, to appreciate the scale of the opportunity which does exist if the Government chooses to empower the rural economy. If not, the “homogenuous” statements so lamented by Mr Heap, and others, will only become more engrained in the public’s consciousness.