Latest 'rural proofing' guidance published

The government has published its latest guidance to assess the effects of its policies on rural areas.

Rural areas are home to one-fifth of England's population and a quarter of all registered businesses – contributing over 16% of England's economy each year.

This makes it important to ensure that policies don't have a detrimental affect on the countryside and those who work there.

"Rural proofing" policies is important, says the guidance.

Rural areas face particular challenges around distance, sparsity and demography.

The government says policies should take these into account these challenges at all stages of development.

"Rural proofing should start at an early stage of policy development and continue beyond policy evaluation," says the guidance.

"This does not need to be complicated and can be built into any consultation and policy development process."

Aimed at policy-makers and analysts in government, the guidance sets out a four-stage process to achieve this objective.

Policy-makers should iddentify the likely impacts of any policy, assess the scale of those impacts, tailor the policy as necessary and then evaluate and adapt it to best effect.

"Rural proofing is about understanding the impacts of policies in rural areas," it says.

"It ensures that these areas receive fair and equitable policy outcomes."

The full guidance can be downloaded here.


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