North Yorkshire's Lord Lieutenant calls for unified approach to tackling long-running problems plaguing the countryside

The Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire has made an impassioned plea for a unified approach to tackling a host of complex issues which are undermining the county’s rural communities.

The Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Jo Ropner, has urged communities to come together to ensure a landmark report's recommendations are full debated to tackle long-running problems affecting rural areas. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Plans are being drawn up to introduce potential solutions to long-running problems that have plagued the countryside in the wake of a landmark report published by the North Yorkshire Rural Commission.

Jo Ropner, the Queen’s representative for the county, told The Yorkshire Post she hoped that a “momentum” would build to ensure that the report’s recommendations are fully debated.

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She is hoping to highlight the commission’s findings to the Prince of Wales, who is a vocal campaigner for rural issues, and is planning to send a copy of the report to Clarence House.

Mrs Ropner said: “The Rural Commission’s work does deserve to be recognised and acted upon, as the report provides valuable lessons for potential solutions to a series of deeply ingrained issues affecting the countryside.

“Communities across North Yorkshire must not only be engaged with, but also be allowed to be brought on board so their own views can be heard too.

“The commissioners have done just that throughout all the time that they gathered evidence about the problems that are affecting people in North Yorkshire’s countryside.

“The county is such a wonderful and beautiful place to live, but there are issues which, if solved, would make so many people’s lives better.

“I hope that there is a concerted effort now to move forward with the report’s recommendations, and a real momentum builds behind the work of the commissioners.”

The commission’s findings were highlighted at the Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate last week, at an event attended by Mrs Ropner.

Other high-profile figures at who attended included North Yorkshire County Council’s leader, Carl Les, Transport for the North’s chief executive, Tim Wood, and the NFU’s regional director, Adam Bedford.

The independent commission, which was established by the county council in November 2019, met 20 times taking evidence from more than 70 participants, including MPs and government officials.

Its final report published this month stressed devolved powers from Westminster are key for the future of North Yorkshire.

The commission was established to tackle issues including a lack of affordable housing, poor internet and mobile phone coverage and the need to overhaul farming in the post-Brexit era.

North Yorkshire County Council has been urged to set up an advisory task force to take forward the commission’s recommendations, which include a levy on second home owners and an overhaul of the Government’s funding for education and housing.

A mutual bank has also been suggested, while the economy needs to be more focused on the green energy sector.