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Local Services

What makes our rural communities sustainable and vibrant? At the heart of our communities are elements such as access to services, healthcare, education, shops and community facilities.  This section includes analysis in these areas.

The Office for National Statistics produced in August 2014 a set of migration indicators, the data from which has been used to present this analysis.  Local area migration is important on a number of levels in terms of employment, skills, local services, housing, and has clear variation between rural and urban levels.

Local planning authority performance is an important area to manage and monitor, with significant consequences where an authority is deemed to be underperfoming against set criteria ( To help understand your authority's position, the following analysis presents data showing the speed and quality of decisions made over a two year period. All data is taken from, and future published data from the same source will be used to keep the analysis up to date.

This analysis presents information on electricity and gas consumption at the local authority level for the period spanning 2005 to 2015. The data comes from the Department of Energy & Climate Change.

To view the analysis click here

The following analysis demonstrates the future challenges facing local authorities in supporting communities, with predicted ageing populations for all authority types.  The predicted proportion of population who are 65 and over, and the rate of increase, is greatest within the most rural local authority areas.  Serving rural communities that are spread over wide geographical areas, an ageing population will naturally bring with it a need to adapt and respond to evolving pressures.

To view the analysis of over 65 population projections (2012 to 2037) click here

A brief look at the location of UK regular forces personnel and their importance to rural communities - for the analysis click here

Rural local authority areas have lower population densities, but many services need to be provided despite an area potentially having fewer people living there.  This is reflected when looking at winter maintenance fleet data published by the Municipal Year Book (2013/14).  This set of figures clearly demonstrate that the most rural local authority areas require a higher ratio of winter maintenance vehicles to their populations they serve.  This would naturally have a significant cost implication on a per head of population basis.  To check the situation in your area, please use the analysis to select the authority of interest.

Local authority managed leisure facilities such as swimming pools are increasingly under pressure to make efficiency savings or even survival.  With this view, the following is a brief look at the situation for swimming pool provision in rural local authorities.

Household budgets are increasingly stretched in meeting basic living costs. Using key measures, the financial pressures experienced by the average household can provide a picture of the relative cost of rural life.

To view the relative cost of living analysis click here

Broadband speed - or indeed the lack of it - remains a big challenge for rural business and communities. Many areas are languishing on connections far slower than those available in larger towns and cities - posing economic as well as social challenges for the countryside.

To view the analysis on broadband speed click here

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Unlocking digital potential
A consultation on 'Unlocking Rural Britain's Digital Potential' has been launched. More details here

Brexit module

For information about the full implications and the repercussions on rural areas click here

BBC Countryfile Magazine

Countryfile magazine
For the latest issue of BBC Countryfile magazine, click here

funding module website

Fairer Funding
For our Fairer Funding campaign information click here


For analysis and comment on key rural services, click here.


Local Authority pages
To access tailored information on your local authority, click here


Parliamentary Group
For the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Services, click here.

Our Events

Our Events
For Rural Services Network events and notable dates, click here.

Our Events

Rural studies archive
For our Commission for Rural Communities archive, click here.