This week the Royal Town Planning Institute joined forces with partners in the Rural Coalition to welcome the launch of the Government's Rural Statement. The Statement draws together the different strands of government policy that can contribute to generating thriving rural communities across England. One of the key elements in the Statement is a strong commitment to the principle of rural proofing policy across government, reinforcing Defra as the rural champion within Government.
Pictured right: The Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for DEFRA
Chair of the Rural Coalition Lord Robin Teverson stated: "The fact that one of Owen Paterson's first acts as Secretary of State has been to launch this Rural Statement is an excellent sign for the future of rural areas. His big challenge now is to keep all Whitehall departments, beyond DEFRA, committed to the rural cause. Their individual buy-in to this Statement is encouraging.
As the Rural Coalition we are particularly pleased to see the commitment given to the regular monitoring of progress. One of our fears since departmental reorganisations and the bonfire of quangos has been the fragmentation and loss of rural data. The Statement makes it clear that keeping that database will be a core role of the Rural Communities Policy Unit.
At the end of the day that data is essential to show whether the good intentions of Government really are delivered.
Indeed, for the proposals within the Rural Statement to be implemented effectively it will be necessary for ministers to harness the energy of the broad range of bodies that champion rural interests".
The Rural Coalition, chaired by Lord Robin Teverson, is made up of leading national organisations which represent such rural interests. Its members together represent a unique mix of national rural stakeholder views and share a desire to see effective government policy for promoting both challenges and opportunities in England's rural areas. The Rural Coalition provides an independent voice, drawing on the experience of its members.
The following members of the Rural Coalition are signatories to this document:
- Action with Communities in Rural England
- Action for Market Towns
- Campaign to Protect Rural England
- Country Land & Business Association
- County Councils Network
- National Association of Local Councils
- National Farmers Union
- National Housing Federation
- Royal Town Planning Institute
- Rural Services Network
- Town and Country Planning Association
The Rural Coalition was originally formed in 2009 to promote the growing consensus around the future of rural communities and rural sustainable development. This had been reflected in the Taylor Review of Sustainable Rural Communities 'Living, Working Countryside' (July 2008). The Rural Coalition has developed proposals for local empowerment and rural sustainable development, as set out in its document 'The Rural Challenge' (August 2010). The Rural Coalition's policy statement can be found in its document, 'The Rural Challenge', on its website.