Rural Proofing Means Getting The Fairest Solutions For Rural Areas
Applied during all stages of policy development – rural proofing is a way of ensuring that people’s needs in Rural Areas are considered when policy makers in Westminster are drawing up their laws.
What challenges faces Rural Areas?
Our Rural Economy generates around £211bn a year – however, businesses still face some distinct challenges when it comes operating inside a Rural Area.
- Due to increased distance from urban manufacturing areas, more money is spent on gaining access to markets.
- Although broadband speeds are improving – many Rural businesses have to suffer slow internet speeds, costing them precious time.
- Mobile phone networks do not sufficiently cover all corners of Rural areas, making basic communications between people a hassle.
- Business skills development and training courses are, more often than not, held in major cities and towns.
Basic public services, that urban populations often take for granted, are often handicapped by the wide dispersal of people in Rural Areas.
- Public transport can either be limited or non-existent in certain areas with only 42% of households having access to a regular bus service)
- Educational services such as Libraries, Night Schools and Job Centres are usually positioned solely in towns – making it difficult for the unemployed to find work.
- Although it may well sound archaic, 2 in 5 homes in Rural Areas are not on the gas grid, leaving thousands to rely on more expensive forms of energy.
As a result of these economic and service issues, the Health of people in Rural Areas can sometimes be affected in an adverse manor.
- Due to transport issues, GP Surgeries and Hospitals can often be several miles away with 21% or rural households having to travel over 2.5 miles to their nearest health service.
- The are far more elderly people living in rural areas than urban; the average age in the country is 6 years older than in city areas.
- As a result of an ageing community, demand for health service is increasing.
In order to Rural Proof for Health, policy-makers must consider the challenges the Rural Community faces, so that they can successfully evaluate and adapt their policies – in the light of these revelations.