Eden to host national uplands management conference

John Rowland, manager of Newton Rigg's Low Beckside Farm, working the uplands

Major conference will take place at Newton Rigg College near Penrith

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The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

A MAJOR national conference on the uplands will be held at Newton Rigg College next month.

The event aims to address challenges thrown up by the current consultation on CAP payments and its potential impact on the way upland farms, moorland and forestry are managed.

The influential list of speakers includes Defra’s deputy director Mike Rowe, National Trust director general Dame Helen Ghosh, National Sheep Association chief executive Phil Stocker and Lake District National Park Authority chief executive Richard Leafe.

Organisers say the conference provides a forum for debate on ‘the many different and sometimes conflicting’ issues faced by uplands. Newton Rigg, near Penrith, is home to the National Centre for the Uplands (NCU) and the only UK college to have its own upland farm and grouse moor.

It is also unique in offering a specialist degree course in uplands agriculture with land management.

Douglas Phillips, who leads the National Centre for the Uplands, said: “The conference could not come at a more opportune moment, as policy makers across the UK look to finalise changes regarding the re-distribution of CAP funds, which could have a huge impact on how we manage our uplands and on the rural communities that rely upon them economically."

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Mr Phillips continued: “It will doubtless be a lively and informative two days, given the diverse range of speakers which includes practitioners, policy makers, researchers and planners. Our aim is to provide an opportunity for debate that will increase awareness of the different perspectives and thus encourage greater understanding and co-operation.

“We need to ensure that we build a vibrant and sustainable upland economy based on agriculture and positive land management that will ultimately protect some of the most vulnerable and precious landscapes in the United Kingdom for future generations.”

Entitled ‘Future Upland Management: Balancing environmental, social and economic demands’, the conference will take place on May 13 and 14. To register and for further details please contact Michaela Dixon – michaela.dixon@newtonrigg.ac.uk or call 01768-893508.

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