Ministerial Recognition for CLA Rural Broadband Campaign

CLA Comment26 March 2010

Ministerial Recognition for CLA Rural Broadband Campaign
Responding to comments made by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, who described the CLA as “a very important, powerful voice for the members it represents”, Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North said: “I am heartened to hear Mr Benn’s comments, especially coming so soon after the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement of the importance of broadband for everyone. It seems clear that years of campaigning – to ensure rural areas have equality of opportunity when it comes to accessing fast, affordable broadband – continue to deliver results.

“One goal was to move this subject firmly up the political agenda. It seems we have done this, and it confirms our view that the social and economic problems caused by the lack of access will be a major election issue in rural areas.

Mr Benn met CLA Members yesterday (26 March) on a visit to the East Midlands. He said:

“The canals were the arteries of business in the 18th century, the railways in the 19th, the roads in the 20th and broadband is really the artery of economic development in this century. That’s why we’ve got the Digital Britain proposals where we are having the levy that’s going to go on everyone’s fixed land lines. It’s going to help to get better, higher speed broadband.”

“There are technical difficulties in place if you have to be honest about it, but if you have broadband available, just about any kind of business can relocate. It can be in the middle of a city, or could be in the middle of the countryside as we have here and, of course, it’s boosting the rural economy. We work closely with the CLA and I think it’s a very important, powerful voice for the members it represents,  and it is important that the voice of rural Britain is heard. It’s the job of Government to respond and that’s what we’re seeking to do.”


For further comment contact:
Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North: Tel: 015395 67597 Mobile: 07764 588 475 Email:

Background Notes for editors;Since starting its ‘Broadband Rural Britain’ campaign in 2002, the CLA has made much progress, but the issue is so critical to its members that the CLA has brought together a range of broadband organisations and champions of community interests to lobby the Government as the “Final Third First” coalition to provide adequate and effective broadband access for the areas of the UK which currently lack this vital infrastructure.Launched at the CLA’s London Headquarters in March, the inaugural meeting of the coalition was chaired by the Charles Trotman, CLA’s Head of Rural Business Development, who is fast developing a reputation as a leading broadband activist. It brought together organisations as diverse as Digitaldales, County Broadband,, Vtesse, Wray Community Communications, NextGenUs UK CIC, Hampshire County Council, and Ewelme Parish Council.Now the CLA is at the forefront of a powerful force. The campaign will focus on ensuring that all those in the “Final Third” will be able to access Government online services by 2012 and only then to facilitate the move towards next generation access.As well as launching the coalition, the CLA is hard at work behind the scenes, enjoying high level access to Government and, crucially, to BT. We continue to provide sensible and workable solutions such as the greater use of public sector infrastructure, so that local communities can piggy-back on existing broadband connections to schools and hospitals for example. We are also providing a satellite broadband option for members, and once the new Government has settled after the coming election, a further campaign will be launched, which will aim to help those suffering from slow connections.

If you wish to join the Final Third First campaign, for for further information, please contact Charles Trotman at, 0207 460 7939 or 07702 926059.

As a membership organisation, the CLA supports landowners and rural businesses and our success is measured by how effectively we do that. We have a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support. We have been looking after the interests of our members, as well as promoting the positive aspects of land ownership and land management, for the past 100 years. CLA members own approximately half the rural land in England and Wales, and the resulting expertise puts us in a unique position to formulate policies and lobby effectively.

CLA Comment26 March 2010

  1. April 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Hi! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics?

    Thank you!

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