About us

First established in April 2005, we became an independent body on 1 October 2006 following the enactment of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act.

We are funded by government to help ensure that policies, programmes and decisions take proper account of the circumstances of rural communities. We have a particular focus on disadvantaged people and areas suffering from economic under-performance.

We have three key functions:

  • Advocate: acting as a voice for rural people, businesses and communities;
  • Expert adviser: giving evidence-based, objective advice to government and others; and
  • Independent watchdog: monitoring and reporting on the delivery of policies nationally, regionally and locally.

Our policy programmes

Our policy work is focused within four broad headings: