Tim Bonner, the director of campaigns for the Countryside Alliance, has been appointed to the position of Chief Executive. Sir Barney White-Spunner, the CA’s current Chief Executive, will be stepping down after the AGM in September, whereupon Mr Bonner will take up the mantle.
Sir Barney has spent three and a half years at the head of Britain’s largest rural campaigning organization, and recently hit the shooting headlines by leading a revolt against the Lead Ammunition Group.
“In a world which sees issues primarily through an urban lens,” he commented, “it is vital that we have a vibrant organisation to speak up for those who live and work in the countryside and ensure that our interests are properly represented.”
Countryside Alliance chairman, Lord Mancroft, said: “Barney has brought much needed stability to the organisation and wrestled with some of the most intractable issues facing the British countryside,” said CA chairman Lord Mancroft. “He leaves hunting in good heart – if a bit frustrated by the vagaries of the SNP, shooting in a much better place than he found it and a Government far more engaged on a range of rural issues than when he arrived.
Lord Mancroft added: “The Board was able to appoint an exceptional internal candidate in Tim Bonner, who will provide continuity whilst pushing forward the evolution of the Alliance and its campaigns. ”
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation also welcomes Mr Bonner’s appointment. BASC chief executive Richard Ali has stated he is looking forward to “working closely with [Mr Bonner] to both promote and defend shooting.”
Commenting on his appointment, Tim Bonner said: “This appointment is a huge honour, but most of all a huge responsibility. I am constantly aware of the hundreds of thousands of Countryside Alliance members and supporters who rely on us to give them a voice. The Alliance will always focus on the core political and campaigning work it does best, but must also change to face new challenges.”
The Countryside Alliance has recently broadened its advocation of rural communities by campaigning for improved broadband and other services for those living outside urban areas. Tim Bonner is expected to build on Sir Barney’s work in this area and continue to ensure that rural communities are not treated as an afterthought in policy making.
Follow Tim on Twitter @CA_TimB.