THE ROYAL Bath and West Society’s showground generates £164m a year for the rural economy, according to a new report.

An economic impact assessment, carried out by Roger Tym and Partners, revealed that the annual show has a value of £37.6m to the national economy, with other showground events contributing £65m.

The activities impact across all sectors, from tourism to employment, education and agricultural industries.

Of the total £164m a year generated, 35% is kept in Mendip and Somerset, 23% in the rest of the south-west, and 40% across the rest of the UK.

The report will form the cornerstone of the Society’s bid for £40m of funding to develop the Shepton Mallet showground facilities for the future.

This follows an earlier study which showed that the Society needed to improve and expand its ageing facilities to stay ahead of the competition, meet market needs and continue to fulfil its charitable aims of supporting agriculture and the rural economy.

The 10-year plan is to build new multi-purpose exhibition halls, catering facilities and an on-site business village. This is already underway, with a veterinary surgery, employment agency, childrens’ nursery, cheesemaker and log cabin manufacturer now on site.