A CHALLENGE is being laid down to Whitehall in a bid to rid misconceptions of rural areas and their economies.

David Kerfoot, the new chairman of the York North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, will hammer home his message that rural areas are the powerhouses for cities, a hotbed for innovation and host to thriving businesses as he welcomes 200 delegates to the LEP’s annual conference today.

Mr Kerfoot will be joined for an onstage Q&A by CLA (Country Land and Business Association) director North, Dorothy Fairburn, who has recently called for more powers and funding to be delegated to LEPs.

The conference, held at the at The National Agri-Food Innovation Campus in Sand Hutton, will welcome a keynote from Sam Moorhouse, recently voted Britain’s most Innovative Farm Diversification for his Hesper Farm Skyr Yoghurt, along with Jon Timmis of the University of York.