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Enhancing Cumbria's special natural capital, helping climate change action and feeding the nation through a sustainable rural community

Photo of a man and dog sitting in a buggy on farmland

Our rural community supports farming, forestry, food, fishing, water supply, and through land management shapes the environment and landscape that we all love and enjoy.

Our county’s beautiful natural capital sets the area apart with two World Heritage Sites, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and two National Parks – the most extensive coverage of protected landscapes in England.

As the most rural ‘place’ in England, The rural sector contains 5,125 businesses and supports 18,865 jobs. We have one of the largest industries in the UK for sheep and cattle stock.

The rural community has shaped the land that leads to over 46M visitors every year and the huge contribution that makes to our economy as well as our way of life.

Our land-based economies are going through time of significant change, with the transition to new forms of Environmental Land Management Systems and changes to public funded subsidies which will challenge some of our traditional farming heritage, whilst creating a positive national focus on natural capital and a drive to achieve net zero carbon to battle climate change.

All of these changes challenge an existing way of life in parts of our rural community and we must make visible the very high value in which we hold our rural businesses and people, to support them through times of change to bring a new sustainable future. The rural community has never been a more important part of our economy and way of life than now.

  • Supporting the Rural Sector to become a more productive, diversified, sustainable rural business community

  • Enabling Cumbria to become a UK national exemplar for rural productivity, natural capital and animal welfare

  • To invest in the skills and career development of the current and future workforce, and have a benefit to local communities and positive social impacts

  • Whilst enhancing our natural capital, contributing to a net zero future, and feeding Cumbria and the nation

Our aim is to continue to develop a sustainable, productive rural sector, achieving greater self-sufficiency of food production and consumption in Cumbria leading as a UK exemplar for management of our natural capital.

We must also recognise the important role that the sector plays in the net zero carbon agenda, and will support a structured approach to addressing the climate emergency.

We have opportunities to work across the north of England and south of Scotland through the Borderlands growth deal to focus on rural and natural capital innovation to support communities across that larger geography.

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& Plans

What we're all doing for Cumbria

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