A revised Norfolk Rural Strategy authored by Collison and Associates was launched at an event at the Green Britain Centre in Swaffham on Friday 10th November. The refreshed strategy was commissioned to update the original strategy published in 2013 to take account of the introduction of the National Living Wage, the vote to leave the EU and the relentless and accelerating march of technology. The strategy proposes five headline areas for action:
Lobbying for Support for Rural Development as the UK develops new UK administered investment programmes;
Delivering a World Class Environment to make Norfolk an attractive place to live, work and visit;
Technology Driven so that rural Norfolk embraces the opportunities technology can bring to the economy and lifestyles;
Delivering AgriFood Competitiveness to ensure that Norfolk’s food chain remains competitive in the global market and exploits new markets through adding value;
Enablers of Growth so that rural development is supported by an enabling planning system and supported with modern water, energy and communications infrastructure.
The government has today published the Made Smarter Review which deals with how digitalisation will revolutionise industry in the next decade and beyond. This review which came out of the Industrial Digitalisation Review (IDR) process was led by Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens and Martin Collison was pleased to work on the Food Strand of this review which was led by Professor Simon Pearson at the University of Lincoln.
The Interreg SALFAR project which looks at “Thinking green” to create a real change of perspective in farming and food producing, a change of behaviour for the consumers of food, and, for authorities, re-thinking water management and changing policies on environment and agriculture in coastal areas, held its launch meeting in Lincoln from the 25th-27th September 2017.
Martin Collison’s article in the New Statesman’s Midlands Engine supplement for the party conferences, argues that the food chain will embrace robotics to help it meet future growth challenges
The article is at: ns_midlands_supplement_sept_2017
The East of England Science and Innovation Audit (SAI) was published on 21st September 2017 at Venturefest East, during a presentation by Lord Prior to launch 8 Wave 2 SIAs. Martin Collison was involved in the agritech strand of this work which features 4 sectors: agritech; life sciences; ICT; advanced manufacturing and materials. The report and its appendices show real strengths across all four of these themes.
Martin Collison ran 2 workshops at the Rural Services Network Conference in Cheltenham in early September on how short food chains can help deliver economic growth. Speaking about the EU H2020 funded SKIN project as well as Food Enterprise Zones, Martin stressed the role that investment beyond the farm gate held real promise for agriculture and food companies as the market for food traceability grows.
The crowd at the opening of Hannam Wake Hub
Martin Collison, chairman of the Cambridgeshire Fens Leader group, was delighted to attend the opening of the new enlarged facilities at the Hannam Wake Hub near Ely which was supported by Leader funding.
The Short Supply Chain Knowledge and Innovation Network (SKIN) project website has gone live. The network is an EU Thematic Network focused on how we can reduce the number of steps in the food chain so that we both help consumers understand where their food comes from at the same time as helping primary producers (farmers and food processors) obtain a larger share of the final consumer value. The network which was launched in November 2016 has initial funding for three years to collate and disseminate best practices from across Europe. Collison and Associates are one of 20 partners in the network who will work with the food industry to promote short food chains.
Martin Collison was very pleased to sit on the panel for the launch of the Greater Lincolnshire Water Management Plan in Louth on 24th February 2017. This ambitious 25 year plan seeks to unite water supply with flood management and innovative ways of working. The full story is available at:
Martin Collison spoke at an event on how to secure water for agriculture at Easton and Otley College on 16th February, alongside Jean Spencer, Director of Anglian Water and Henry Leveson-Gower, Head of Water Abstraction at DEFRA. Martin promoted the idea that we are not, contrary to popular opinion short of water, even in the dry East of England, but rather that we are short of water management having failed to invest enough in all aspects of water management over many decades. He argued that we need to unite flood prevention and water supply and manage water at the landscape scale, applying new technology and innovation in relation to how we organise and manage water collaboratively.