Missing generations of young are key to county’s future, says Commission

North Yorkshire’s Rural Commission has set out far-reaching recommendations to level up rural communities and to transform the region into one that has more young people, has a thriving rural economy and is fully connected.

In its report, Rural North Yorkshire: the way forward, which was launched at this week’s Great Yorkshire Show, the Commission says devolution is a priority for rural North Yorkshire.

This devolved authority must be advised by a task force that would help to implement the recommendations of the report.

A key challenge is the missing generations of young people who do not live and work in the region.

The Commission has estimated that if North Yorkshire had the national percentage of younger adults per head of population, there would be more than 45,500 additional younger working age adults living in the county and North Yorkshire would be £1.5 billion better off annually.

The Very Reverend John Dobson DL, Dean of Ripon and chair of the Commission, said: “This missing generation relates to all of the themes examined by the Commission; unaffordability of housing for this age group, school closures because of lack of demand, the people to drive a forward-looking green economy, depleting services because of declining population, and a skewed older age group.”

The Commission was established by the County Council to make recommendations to help the most rural communities address their challenges and to grow and prosper.

County Council Leader Cllr Carl Les said: “We set up this independent Commission because we are aware of the underlying issues that need to be addressed to help our rural county to thrive in future. We always knew there would be challenges, but these are important issues that need to be taken forward. I thank the Commission for its efforts and its recommendations, including the acknowledgement of the importance of devolution as a priority for the county.”

Find out more about the Commission and read its report in full.

What some of those who gave evidence to the Commission had to say

Jasmine Brown, 17, was the youngest person to give evidence to the Commission: “I want future generations to have more accessible and easier journeys for education so they can fulfil their dreams and whatever they want to do they can achieve it.”

David Burns, chairman, UK Wireless Internet Service Providers Association: “Rural North Yorkshire needs the same connectivity as every other place in the country. We need to make sure that we support local companies, based in North Yorkshire, that care about their communities.”

Neil Heseltine: Hill Top Farm: “I think it is really important that we as a farming community, a farming industry, start to take our responsibilities towards climate change and nature recovery in conjunction with food production, much more seriously.”