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UK Announces New Food Enterprise Zones to Aid Rural Economy

UK Announces New Food Enterprise Zones to Aid Rural Economy

30 March 2015

UK - Six new Food Enterprise Zones (FEZs) have been approved to boost local food and drink economies.

The zones make it easier for existing businesses to expand and new ones to set up, helping to attract investment.

They will also forge closer links through the entire food chain, joining up farmers, manufacturers, retailers and researchers, helping businesses realise the full value of British food and drink.

The zones are a key part of the government’s policy of helping entrepreneurs fulfil their ambitions in food and farming, which is central to the British economy and worth more than £100 billion a year.

The new FEZs bring the total now being set up to 17. They will be located in Central Bedfordshire, Gipping Valley and Orwell in Suffolk, Greater Norwich, North Somerset, and Ryedale, North Yorkshire.

These new zones are home to some of England’s most celebrated produce, from flavoursome tomatoes grown in the Vale of Evesham to rare breed meat from cattle grazed at Jimmy’s Farm in Babergh, Suffolk.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: "Food and farming is at the heart of our long-term economic plan and vital to securing Britain’s economic future.

"This latest round of successful Food Enterprise Zones will help unlock the potential of local food and farming businesses by forging closer links between farmers, manufacturers, retailers and researchers.

"Consumers both here and abroad want to buy great British food and drink. These zones will ensure our entrepreneurs can put great ideas into practice, meet that growing demand and expand this fantastic industry."

The FEZs are locally designed to meet the needs of local food and drink economies. They are all subject to public consultation.

FEZs, based on local development orders, streamline planning procedures for businesses that meet the zone’s criteria, making it cheaper and simpler for them to expand.

The government is awarding grants of up to £50,000 to successful bidders to develop their FEZ proposals.

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