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Rural and Countryside

South Downs way signpost

Defra is the rural department in government. Most of what we do, for example in relation to farming, food, environmental protection, landscape management, water, flooding, and climate change adaptation, has a direct bearing on rural England, and it also has a wider role in promoting the interests of rural people, communities and businesses across government as a whole.

Rural and Farming Network

A new Rural and Farming Network of fourteen local groups from across England have been established to identify and feedback local issues and concerns straight to the heart of Government. See news release and map of Rural and Farming Network Groups (PDF)

For further information contact

Rural Economy Growth Review

A strong package of new measures, designed to stimulate sustainable growth in the rural economy and help rural businesses to reach their full potential was announced on 29 November 2011.

We also deal with statutory designations protecting our natural environment – such as Common Land, Local Nature Reserves, Areas of Outstanding Natural beauty or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – and with policy on National Parks.

Amongst our priorities under Defra’s Business Plan are:

  • Reviewing the governance arrangements of National Parks and publishing proposals to increase their accountability
  • Creating a new designation to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities, modelled on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)
  • Supporting economic growth in rural areas – investigating options available to help those in remote rural areas with the cost of fuel, and working to deliver universal broadband at speeds of 2mbps.

Page last modified: 5 January 2012