North Yorkshire’s rural communities must not be left behind, says report

Barry White

This weekend’s edition of the Yorkshire Post gives comprehensive coverage to a wide ranging report by the North Yorkshire Rural Commission on the future of the county . It calls for the government to shift powers of decision making away from London on key issues like transport infrastructure, education and economic investment. It also reveals that a lack of younger workers in the County has left a £1.4bn financial hole in the county’s economy. It also wants sufficient funds for all communities to achieve a ‘levelling up agenda’.

The Yorkshire Post reports that the independent commission, which is the first of its kind to be established, has called on North Yorkshire County Council to establish an advisory task force to include civil servants, rural business, banking and industry, academic and scientific expertise and communities to take forward its recommendations.

The commission has produced seven key sections from their research which include one on energy transition. They point out that the county faces significant challenges in the fight against climate change and meeting the government’s plan for the UK to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Although local authorities in both West and North Yorkshire have set targets to achieve net zero emission by 2038, much of North Yorkshire’s rural housing is solid brick or stone walls, there is no gas grid and also a weak electrical infrastructure.

The Commission calls on the government to invest in an electricity network that does not forget rural areas. The York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and North Yorkshire County Council have also been urged to push for investment to boost rural electrical; supplies.

It also calls on the authorities representing the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors National Park to implement a strategy to allow essential infrastructure upgrades. The Local Enterprise Partnership should also be tasked with introducing a ‘rural energy community champion’ the Commission says.

The blueprint produced by the Commission makes its case for positive change clear to the government and the authorities in the County. They will be judged by their actions. Meanwhile we must make sure that the recommendations are taken seriously and campaign to make sure that the more rural parts of the county are not left behind.

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