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Rural affairs have been the focus of much debate and review, through Lord Haskins' review of rural delivery arrange...
Rural affairs have been the focus of much debate and review, through Lord Haskins' review of rural delivery arrangements, the review of the rural white paper and a review of rural funding, all of which led to the government's rural strategy and the modernising rural delivery programme.

The LGA's annual rural conference entitled `Meeting rural challenges together' will give local authorities the opportunity to discuss how rural policy and outcomes can be delivered. The event takes place at The Assembly Rooms in Bath on Wednesday 15 September with confirmed main speakers including John Mills, director of rural policy at DEFRA; Pam Warhurst, chair of the Countryside Agency; Martin Doughty, chair of English Nature and David Marlow, chief executive of the East of England Development Agency.

The conference programme (available here) details a series of workshops planned for the event:

Simplifying rural funding - Tim Allen from DEFRA will detail outcomes of the review of rural funding streams aimed at providing a clearer, simpler framework for applicants.

Effective facilitation for rural regeneration - Rob Hindle of Rural Innovation will speak about the research undertaken with the rural economy beacon councils, whilst Andy Dean, Head of Economic and Community Development at Tynedale District council will highlight the practicalities of facilitation and the outcomes for communities in his local area.

A shared agenda - food, farming and local government - Brian McLaughlin, a Rural Development policy consultant, will lead a discussion on the need for a collaborative approach and identify future agenda issues where the adoption of a shared agenda would be mutually advantageous. Jane Thompson from South Gloucestershire Council will demonstrate how her council has worked with the farming community to develop a local food partnership, together with the issues that the partnerships tackle and the outcomes achieved in revitalising local food economy.

Thinking rural - Five district/borough councils in the East Midlands and the Countryside Agency have now completed a pilot project to identify easy and effective ways to think rural. Michael Hyatt, head of policy at Cumbria CC will demonstrate why one of the country's most rural areas believes that rural proofing is important and highlight direct outcomes and achievements for the local community. Keith Wood, head of community development at Rushcliffe BC will talk about the outcome of the project.

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