House of Commons
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee
Tuesday 23 March 2021
Following a one-off evidence session on land-based education provision in England, MPs on the House of Commons EFRA Committee are to raise concerns about national delivery of education for agriculture and the environment. In the session, the cross-party group of MPs were left with a clear impression of the need for continued land-based education provision at Newton Rigg in Cumbria, and of the wider issues faced by the sector. The Committee heard how a recent decline in the number of land-based graduates, and the lack of incentives to upskill the existing agricultural workforce could have knock-on effects for delivering the Government’s ambitious targets to improve the environment and the supply of high-quality British food.
The Committee has asked the witnesses for further information. It will then be writing to the Government to press it on its national strategy for land-based skills, and how it will support local colleges to deliver it.
Neil Parish MP, Chair of the EFRA Committee, said:
"The Government has ambitious targets to restore woodland and natural habits, and to deliver on its new Environmental Land Management scheme in farming. This will be impossible without highly skilled land managers and farmers and the institutions to train them. My Committee will be writing to the Government to seek answers to the issues raised today, not least the strong calls for a national strategy for land-based education raised by our witnesses today.”
Dr Neil Hudson MP for Penrith and The Border, Member of the EFRA Select Committee, said:
“Today we had a very useful evidence session that put on record from our EFRA Select Committee the importance of delivery of land-based education both nationally and locally within Cumbria. We were able to ask questions of Askham Bryan College about their actions as they depart Newton Rigg and have asked for more clarifying information on this. It is so important for Cumbria that they do the right thing and ensure a smooth transition as we move into the next chapter of trying to secure a future for a new Newton Rigg.”
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