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LG Group Annual Rural Conference 2011
07 Sep 2011
A Local Government Association event. To be held at at The Assembly Rooms, Bath

Headline Speakers

The context in which councils operate has changed dramatically since the last election, but by this September's LG Group Annual Rural Conference the landscape will have changed even more dramatically as the cuts to local authority funding and many provisions in the Localism Bill will have come into effect.

The LG Group's Annual Rural Conference is the key event for rural policy and decision-makers in local government and will provide a unique opportunity for elected members to discuss the challenges and opportunities that these changes have brought for councils and the rural perspective on the key policy issues that have emerged. The debate will be stimulated by speeches from senior politicians and policy makers, as well as contributions from elected members and officers who are working to deliver policies and services. You will have the opportunity to hear about developments in policy and practice and suggest how these should be shaped to meet the needs of rural communities.

The Minister of State for Rural Affairs will be giving the keynote speech at the conference, to discuss the key challenges that need to be addressed by rural communities and the role of the new Rural Communities Policy Unit. Other key areas that the event will focus on rural service delivery in the current financial climate, the Decentralisation and Localism Act in practice and the future for affordable housing in light of the changes to housing finance and neighbourhood planning.

The Conference and Commission will feature a number of fully interactive workshop and plenary sessions that will give delegates an opportunity to discuss and debate issues including Local Enterprise Partnerships, Community Budgets and the role of councils in preserving our natural environment.

Councillor Ken Hudson MBE JP, Chairman, LG Group Rural Commission
Chairman’s welcome and introduction

Richard Benyon MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Ministerial address

Questions and discussion
The Localism Bill in practice
Councillor Mike Haines, Deputy Chair, LG Group Economy and Transport Programme Board; Sylvia Brown, Chief Executive, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).

Questions and discussion
Refreshments and exhibition
Workshop 1: Rural Policy
Sarah McAdam, Head of Rural Communities Policy Unit - Wildlife, Landscape & Rural Directorate, Defra

Workshop 2: Low carbon planning for rural communities
Rachel Coxcoon, Head of Local and Community Empowerment, Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE); Sara Grimes, Corporate Sustainability Officer, Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Workshop 3: Local Enterprise Partnerships
Councillor Heather Goddard, Executive Member Health External Affairs & Partnerships, South Gloucestershire Council

Workshop 4: The role of councils in preserving our forests
Mark Durk, Policy Officer, Quality of Life, Forestry Commission England

Document coming soon
Lunch and exhibition
Repeat of workshop sessions
Judith Mobbs, Assistant Director, Skills for the Future, Suffolk County Council
Developing the aspirations of young people in education in rural areas

Questions and discussion
Tom Hart Dyke, Horticulturist, Plant Hunter and Author
Closing keynote address: Intrepid tales of a modern day plant hunter

Questions and discussion
Councillor Ken Hudson MBE JP, Chairman, LG Group Rural Commission
Chair’s closing remarks and end of the Annual Rural Conference 2011