Fakenham, Acle, Norwich, Holt and Diss youngsters tackle rural Norfolk concerns

Scenes from the CPRE schools conference at Fakenham Academy conference hall. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Scenes from the CPRE schools conference at Fakenham Academy conference hall. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

The impact of housing and tourism on rural Norfolk was the hot topic of conversation as youngsters from across the county came together to discuss rural issues and how they affect their communities.

Dozens of teenagers descended on Fakenham Academy yesterday for a new conference for schoolchildren hosted by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Norfolk.

The event saw pupils from five different high schools meet with industry experts to discuss the topic Battle or Balance, Setting Priorities for Land Use in Rural Norfolk.

Issues raised included the impact of development, how the county can meet its energy needs, how it can feed a growing population and the advantages and disadvantages of tourism in rural areas.

CPRE Norfolk's branch manager Katy Jones said: 'It's been a real eye-opener. These 15 year olds have got such a depth of understanding about the issues, have been able to come with ideas and solutions and understand how it's not easy to find an answer to the problems.'


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About 60 pupils from Fakenham Academy, Acle Academy, Norwich High School for Girls, Diss High School and Gresham's took part in the event. They got the chance to listen to and quiz experts and professionals from Natural England, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Visit North Norfolk, estate agents Savills, property developers Citygate Developments, food producers Nortons Dairy and planning authorities.

Amanda Bell, a teacher from Acle Academy, said: 'It's given them a really good insight into a lot of areas and meeting with other schools has helped them with their confidence as well.'

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Are you helping to tackle rural issues? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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