A COUNTY council has backed a call for action to stem the flow of young people from rural areas.
Members of all parties on North Yorkshire County Council voted unanimously to use their "considerable influence" to combat the drift of people away from the countryside.
Councillors meeting in Northallerton supported a motion which recognised "an increasingly worrying outflow of young people and young families from the rural and deeply rural areas of North Yorkshire".
If the drift is not arrested, it said, communities could fail within a generation or two.
The council pledged to work through its Stronger Communities policy initiative to encourage people contemplating leaving rural communities to stay.
Council leader John Weighell said: "This is an issue which affects a great number of small and very small communities, and has done so for a long time."
He addedL "What we are saying today is that we will look to see if there are realistic ways in which this important issue can be addressed."
County Councillor John Blackie, whose Upper Dales division contains many communities potentially at risk from the drift away from rural areas, proposed the motion.
"This is a vital issue for those of us who live in communities which are constantly seeing their services eroded," he said.
"It comes on top of the lack of affordable housing and quality employment opportunities that characterise deeply rural and rural areas."
"By making this declaration today, North Yorkshire County Council has demonstrated that it holds the issue of rural depopulation and community cohesion very dear, and will do all it can to support those communities which may be at risk."
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