A leading agricultural lawyer and rural business expert has taken over as chair of the Warwickshire branch of the CLA.
Paul Rice, a partner at Leamington-based law firm Wright Hassall, has taken over at the helm from the 9th Marquess of Hertford, Lord Hertford of Ragley Hall, who held the position for two years.
Formed in 1907, the CLA is the leading membership organisation for those responsible for land, property and business throughout rural England and Wales.
Rice, who worked for DEFRA before moving to Wright Hassall 10 years ago to lead its agriculture and rural business team, has been the vice chair of the CLA for two years.
He said: “The CLA has a proud history in representing the owners of rural land that has expanded to include a diverse range of members all of whom have the interests and welfare of the countryside at heart.
“The Marquess of Hertford has done an excellent job over the last two years, the highlight of which was probably the hosting of the CLA Game Fair which attracted massive crowds to Warwickshire and was a considerable boost to the local visitor economy.
“Our role as a voice for our members has never been more important with serious issues such as HS2, the state of the rural economy and the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. They are issues which are likely to continue to have an impact over the next few years.”
The Marquess of Hertford has overseen the development and success of the 6000-acre Ragley Hall Estate which includes arable farming, a saw mill and a meat business as well as attracting 100,000 visitors a year to the house and gardens.
He said: “It has been a tremendously interesting two years in the chair, and I have worked closely with Paul who is now taking over the job. The CLA is as relevant as ever and plays a major role in representing the interests of all who depend on the countryside.”