- Rural and Countryside
Rural and countryside
Defra is the Rural Hub in Government. It is the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, but a great deal of its work is “rural” in one way or another.
Some 86% of the land area in England is classified as rural, and most of that is either farmland, forest, managed landscape or natural open spaces, all of which fall within Defra’s remit, in the form of Farming, Food, Flooding and the Natural Environment. It is also responsible for forestry, access to the countryside and for overseeing our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Even many of the responsibilities that Defra holds that are often more closely associated with our urban places, such as climate change adaptation and waste, have strong rural dimensions.
In addition, Defra promotes the needs and interests of the 20% of the English population (9m people) that lives and works in rural areas. This is known as rural mainstreaming and involves Defra and its sponsored body, the Commission for Rural Communities, working closely with other parts of national, regional and local Government to ensure that rural interests are addressed in everyday policies. You can find out more about Defra’s role as rural champion by reading this recent article (PDF 26KB) by Dan Norris, Minister for Rural Affairs, and following the links to pages on key rural issues.
Defra also oversees the delivery of the Rural Development Programme for England, a £3.9bn programme jointly funded by the EU through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Government, over the 7-year programme period (2007-2013). The Programme aims to safeguard and enhance the rural environment, improve competitiveness in the agriculture and forestry sector, foster competitive and sustainable rural businesses, and thriving rural communities.
Page last modified: 05 July 2010