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SCOTS MINISTER CALLS FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO BE CONSULTED OVER RURAL DEVELOPMENT

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Scottish agriculture and environment minister Lord Sewel has called for local communities to be consulted over rura...
Scottish agriculture and environment minister Lord Sewel has called for local communities to be consulted over rural development plans.

Speaking at the Rural Framework Seminar at Battleby, Perthshire, Lord Sewel said:

'Rural development is about delivering for rural people exactly the same benefits and opportunities as are required by their urban

cousins - good jobs, good public services and a safe, healthy environment in which to live.

'Real rural development must be something which reflects the opinions and priorities of the people who live and work in an area. Only they know what matters to them and what, if they had to choose, they would give priority to. By requiring a community to decide what it wants and what choices it is prepared to make, rural development plans have the potential to become extremely important documents.

'One of the factors which will be crucial to the success of these strategies will be the extent to which they receive input from, and provide feedback to, local communities.

'I will be writing to the heads of the various government-sponsored

strategic bodies following this seminar, asking them to ensure that their people at a local level now engage in the preparation of development plans.

'The Scottish National Rural Partnership will also be issuing guidance to all of those involved on how these plans might be prepared and the

types of issues they might expect to cover.'

NOTES

1.The government launched a consultation exercise on policies for rural Scotland in October 1997. Just over 180 replies were received to the consultation. In August 1998 the government's response to was launched under the title 'Towards a Development Strategy for Rural Scotland: The Framework'.

2.The purpose of the seminar is to take forward the work of the government's Framework Document Towards a Development Strategy

for Rural Scotland announced in August.

Contact: Robin Miller 0131 244 2703

News Release: 0029/99

Internet: www.scotland.gov.uk

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