A forward-looking vision of Exmoor’s rural economy revealed

A new shared vision of the rural economy of Exmoor is described as ‘forward thinking’ and ‘progressive’ by local businesses and entrepreneurs in a new film about the initiative.

The comments were captured during a dynamic business networking session held to launch the vision.

Dan James, rural business manager for Exmoor National Park, explains that doing business in a national park means being part of an international brand that is “iconic across the world”, but with that comes greatness. ‘a responsability.

Commenting on the film, he says: “Being a national park helps people have confidence in the quality of the landscape and the experience they will have.

“But that also comes with a responsibility to help protect this landscape. We need to balance this desire to grow and support our economy while recognizing the uniqueness of Exmoor. “

The vision is the culmination of two years of work commissioned by a partnership involving professional organizations, local authorities and the National Park Authority, with input from hundreds of other stakeholders across the national park. The project involved:

A comprehensive audit of business activity, which unearthed 1,300 companies operating in the region (a 60 percent increase from previous estimates using national data sets)

· The largest business survey of its kind conducted on Exmoor to explore business perspectives on the challenges and opportunities encountered.

· Extensive consultation through focus groups, 1-2-1, and additional survey work with various stakeholders, including youth, to establish strategic direction.

Exmoor’s global vision is to have:

A key objective is to build community wealth by redirecting benefits and ownership to the local community, with success measured not only in economic terms, but also in relation to the earned value for the environment and communities of Exmoor. . For more information see: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/rural-enterprise.

Dan James, added: “In addition to its stunning scenery, wildlife and heritage, Exmoor is home to around 10,000 people and more than 1,300 businesses.

“Climate and natural emergencies and the evolution of digital technology present enormous challenges for future prosperity. This vision defines a common sense of the direction we are taking. It places Exmoor’s world-class environment at the heart of our economy, while recognizing that businesses don’t want to be constrained.

Selaine Saxby, one of the region’s MPs, added: “Exmoor is a fantastic place to live, work and visit and we need a vision to keep it thriving. Exmoor has the traditional mix of tourism, agriculture and food production businesses.

“But we shouldn’t exclude or miss our technology companies, the work of home consultants, boutique manufacturers and creative industries. I welcome this vision, which provides a framework for businesses to work, trade and employ, helping Exmoor achieve a sustainable future.

During the event, attendees were asked to consider the opportunities as well as the barriers to achieving the vision and were heard by a cross-selection of local businesses on how they saw it working. They also made their own commitments, ranging from helping to share the vision with their peers, offering support in knowledge transfer, training young people and increasing local purchasing. The event’s sponsors, Airband, are committed to bringing improved connectivity to businesses and homes, ensuring that growth and wealth is built and maintained locally.

Ruth Lambert of the Federation of Small Businesses, who spoke at the event on behalf of their 350 members across Exmoor, said: “I was delighted to be invited to speak about the challenges businesses are facing. faced and the opportunities open to them through vision. It’s clear that while a lot of hard work has gone into creating the plan, the hard work has only just begun.

“We need to work together to ensure that Exmoor continues to grow economically and support its residents and businesses in the future.”

Kerrie Wilson, Head of Business Engagement at Rural Enterprise Exmoor, said: “This vision would not have been possible without the contribution of so many like-minded people. We have seen business-to-business interaction and collaboration flourish throughout the year and we can only hope that these connections will continue to grow, fueling our beloved Exmoor ”.

The Rural Enterprise Exmoor Partnership benefited from representation from Devon County Council, Exmoor Hill Farming Network, Exmoor National Park Authority, Federation of Small Businesses, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, North Devon Council, Somerset County Council, Somerset West and Taunton, Visit Exmoor and West Somerset Business Group.

Get the best stories about the things you love most curated by us and delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you likehere

About Keneth T. Graves

Check Also

South of England Show: MP Andrew Griffith talks about helping the rural economy

He was invited by the Sussex Country Land and Business Association and spoke about how …