Gildernew sets out vision for the countryside
21 March 2011
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has unveiled an action plan which sets out a vision for the development of rural areas throughout the north over the next 10 years.
[Pictured with Minister Gildernew are Diane Ruddock, National Trust; Martin McDonald, Rural Development Council; and John Thompson, Ulster Farmers' Union]
The Executive’s Rural White Paper action plan was developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including Government Departments. When implemented, it will make a positive contribution towards service provision in rural areas.
Martin McDonald, Chief Executive RDC, was involved in the stakeholder groups and chaired the Services Sub Group.
The RWP action plan examines the challenges currently being faced by rural areas and identifies innovative ways to target limited resources for the betterment and sustainable development of the countryside. The actions identified will address a wide range of issues including provision of access to services, poverty and isolation, business support, education and training.
Speaking at the launch of a twelve week consultation on the plan, the Minister said: “This action plan is one of the most ambitious pieces of work aimed at supporting rural dwellers ever undertaken in the north. For the first time we have a single document highlighting the actions which each government department will take to support rural communities. This clearly demonstrates that departments and Ministers are taking rural issues and the rights of rural communities seriously and are committed to ensuring a fair deal for them.
“The fact that the initiative will be taken forward across government is a demonstration that there is an Executive commitment to improve the lives of rural dwellers.”
Paying tribute to the work undertaken in its development, the Minister continued: “The Rural White Paper action plan is the culmination of a lot of hard work by stakeholders and government and I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved in it. It has been a privilege to lead on it with agreement of the Executive and I am confident that, when implemented, it will bring about meaningful and lasting improvements in the quality of life of those living and working in our countryside."
The consultation period runs to 13 June 2011. To view the document please visit the DARD website or contact Laura Scott on 028 9037 8530 if you require it in an alternative format.