Rural Needs

The Rural Needs Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

The Rural Needs Act provides a statutory duty on public authorities to “have due regard to rural needs” when developing, adopting, implementing or revising policies, strategies and plans, and when designing and delivering public services.

The commencement of the Act is on a phased approach, beginning with all government departments and local councils from 1 June 2017 and for the remaining specified public authorities from 1 June 2018


Guidance on Rural Proofing

DAERA has developed guidance notes on rural proofing, a process through which public authorities can meet their obligations under the Act.  A rural needs assessment template is also available.   


Online versions of the templates


To assist public authorities, DAERA will publish samples of Rural Needs Impact Assessments when they become available which we feel demonstrate good examples of having due regard to rural needs


Training on Rural Needs

A ’Rural Proofing’ e-learning package has been developed to assist staff in public authorities to meet the requirements of the Act and can be accessed by CLICKING on the following link 



Further advice

While individual government departments and public bodies are ultimately responsible for meeting their obligations under the Act, DAERA provides a support and advice service on the rural proofing process.  DAERA also has a rural statistics page which is a useful source of information. 


Further assistance is available on DAERA'S website HERE  or contacting:


Tel: 028 9052 4107


Tel: 028 8676 6980