Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

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No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Clayton, Wilson and Worden.


Declarations of Interest.

Please telephone the Corporate and Community Services team to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting. Interests must be re-declared when the item is called. A declaration of interest under the Code of Conduct will be a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, an Other Registrable Interest or a Non-Registrable Interest.  If the item directly relates to your interest you must declare the interest and leave the room for the item, save in the case of Other Registrable Interests or Non-Registrable Interests where you may first speak on the item as a member of the public if provision has been made for the public to speak.  If the matter does not directly relate to your interest but still affects it then you must consider whether you are affected to a greater extent than most people and whether a reasonable person would consider your judgement to be clouded, if you are then you must leave the room for the item (although you may speak as a member of the public if provision has been made for the public to speak) or, if you are not, then you can declare the interest but still take part).



There were no declarations of interest announced.


Welcome and Housekeeping


The Chair welcomed the panellists, Members and the public to the meeting. She outlined the format of the meeting, how it would work in practice and reminded all parties to be polite and respectful to each other at all times.



Agriculture. To consider agriculture within the North Devon area. pdf icon PDF 13 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee collectively noted the responses to the pre-submitted questions under item 5 on the agenda at appendices A-G.


The Chair introduced Councillor Bulled to the special meeting and invited her to address the Committee.


Councillor Bulled outlined the proposed format for the meeting, she identified the reasons behind calling the special meeting which involved addressing public concern at both national and local level.


She outlined the following key points to the special meeting:


·       Farming was going through probably the biggest transition in financial backing since the Second World War.

·       Important to raise awareness to the Council and the general public the important role farming plays in the North Devon economy as a whole together with the challenges facing it.

·       The payment of subsidies to farmers had moved from the previous payments to offset the desire for cheaper food to compensate farmers for “income forgone” to now financial payments to farmers on the basis of “public money for public good”.

·       The new Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) and Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme payments had taken some time to develop but were basically to improve and protect the environment, support food production and improve productivity for the benefit of all.

·       The prime purpose of farming remained to be the production of food.

·       Farmers were currently only 55% self-sufficient.

·       Without the support of farmers, a lot of potential greening and environmental issues could not be achieved within the North Devon area.

·       Referred the Committee to appendices A-G of the agenda papers.

·       Following the announcement on 22nd May 2024 of a General Election, which would be held on 2nd July 2024, the members were advised to refrain from making a political statements with the aim of the special meeting being that of a cross party discussion.


Each Member of the panel was invited to introduce themselves and their organisation and to provide a brief overview of their role together with their organisations responsibilities for agriculture.


Councillor Bulled then invited each of the officers present to introduce themselves to the panellists, the Members and the invited public.


The Vice Chair addressed the members and explained that the point of the meeting was to find out what the locals councils could do to help support the agricultural sector.


He added that financially the Council had reopened a second tranche for the Rural Business grant scheme, which was funded through the Rural England Prosperity Fund and invited the Place Manager, Economic Development and Regeneration, North Devon Council to address the special meeting.


The Place Manager, Economic Development and Regeneration, North Devon Council advised that the North Devon Council had re-opened the second tranche of funding for the Rural Business Grant scheme, which was administered by North Devon + with the aim of increasing prosperity and opening up new innovations with the aim of the agricultural and rural communities at large.


She explained that grants were available from £2,500 up to £35,000 and that the Council had the lowered match funding to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.