Building A Resilient Great Yorkshire Showground

 In YAS Press Releases

Opportunities to boost the natural environment of the Great Yorkshire Showground and better understand its role to capture carbon from the atmosphere are being explored by farming charity, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS).

YAS, which owns the 250-acre Great Yorkshire Showground and is best known for hosting the Great Yorkshire Show in July (Tuesday 9th July to Friday 12th July 2024), is believed to be the first agricultural society in the UK to be undertaking a detailed mapping exercise.
The move, which is part of a sustainable long-term vision for its Harrogate home, will measure its current abundance of biodiversity and carbon capture capacity, as well as its potential to enhance these further.

YAS is working with Fera Science Ltd (Fera) and GSC Grays to explore the Great Yorkshire Showground’s potential and in doing so, the charity hopes it can inspire other landowners and farmers to consider undertaking similar exercises on their land to realise benefits to both the environment and their own businesses.

Allister Nixon, CEO of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society said: “We believe we are the first agricultural society in the country to be looking at its showground in this way. With the information we learn from this mapping exercise, we want to understand the capacity of the Great Yorkshire Showground to offset carbon emissions and boost nature recovery.

“Ultimately, the aim of this work is to understand what measures we can take at the Great Yorkshire Showground to set us off on a path towards becoming carbon neutral and more sustainable. By taking the initiative and demonstrating the value of doing this work, we hope to encourage other landowners and farmers to explore the potential of their land.”

YAS is responsible for managing woodland, grazing fields, footpaths and meadows and will be exploring how these areas can be enhanced, including tree planting, to boost the site’s biodiversity and carbon offsetting.

Opportunities for additional renewable energy generation will also be assessed to complement the energy currently generated by solar panels on the Showground’s buildings which is fed back into the National Grid. Additional renewables could help to power the Showground’s commercial venues – Pavilions of Harrogate, Yorkshire Event Centre, Fodder farm shop and café, and Harrogate Caravan Park. Profits made by these businesses are invested back into the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and its year-round work to support farming.

The mapping exercise estimated the Great Yorkshire Showground’s Biodiversity Units and annual carbon sequestration to provide a better understanding of how YAS can offset its own environmental impact through the careful ongoing management of the Showground’s natural environment.

Paul Brown, Head of Remote Sensing, GIS, and Special Data Science at Fera, said: “The mapping exercise we conducted at the Great Yorkshire Showground is a step towards understanding the natural capital value of the site. By identifying current on-site biodiversity and carbon sequestration capability, we can provide actionable insights to improve sustainability. This approach most importantly benefits the environment but also offers economic advantages for landowners and farmers who implement similar strategies on their land.”

James Bush, Associate Farm Business Consultant, GSC Grays said: “The work we have done with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society is something we can offer farm businesses too, as part of a package of free support available through the Farming Resilience Fund. The Farming Resilience Fund provides business support to farmers and land managers in the first few years of adapting to the current agricultural transition. We would encourage all eligible farmers to consider tapping into this support which includes land management reviews and one-to-one consultations.”

GSC Grays is one of several providers in the North of England that is offering free farm business support as part of the Government’s Farming Resilience Fund. For more details about the Fund and local providers, visit the website.

The project will be discussed in more detail at the Great Yorkshire Show on Thursday 11th July at the Innovation Zone. Entitled ‘Climate and the Environment: Building a Resilient Showground’, this will see YAS CEO Allister Nixon joined by James Bush, Associate Farm Business Consultant at GSC Grays and Paul Brown, Head of Remote Sensing at Fera from 9.30am.

All Show visitors are welcome to attend this free talk. Afterwards, there will be an opportunity to contribute ideas to how biodiversity and environmental sustainability can be enhanced on the Great Yorkshire Showground through ways in which the land is managed.

Sponsored by leading UK onshore renewable energy developer OnPath Energy (formerly known as Banks Renewables), the Great Yorkshire Show’s Innovation Zone features indoor and outdoor spaces for exhibitors, and a series of short talks every day. These include Tea and Tech, Pie and Policy and the Rural Policy Group, which leads the all-party Parliamentary group for Fair Value in the Food Supply Chain, will be hosting a debate on ‘Shaking up Sustainable Farming’.

Tickets for the Great Yorkshire Show are available in advance only: Adults £35, Children £13 and Families £86, please go online for more details

Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate



  • The Great Yorkshire Show is England’s premier agricultural event, organised by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), a registered charity supporting rural Yorkshire.
  • YAS supports and promotes the farming industry through health care, business, education and scientific research.
  • The Society is supported by its family of businesses including Fodder, Yorkshire Event Centre, Pavilions of Harrogate and the Harrogate Caravan Park as well as events Great Yorkshire Show and Springtime Live.
  • Businesses and events held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in 2019 contributed £73.7 million to the economy.


Jo Francisco
PR Manager
Direct Line: 01423 546215 | Mobile: 07954 007414


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