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Rural development consultation

09/02/2006

A consultation on rural development strategy over the next seven years, launched today, will guide the future use of EU funding and other resources.

The Executive is proposing action under three main themes:

  • Underpinning performance and quality in the agriculture, food and forestry sectors
  • Enhancing rural landscapes and natural heritage and
  • Promoting a more diverse rural economy with thriving rural communities

At an Environment Link event at the Scottish Parliament, Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie said:

"Implementing a Rural Development Plan will require a joined up approach in which business success accompanies sustainable environmental management.

"We want to see more opportunities to retain the energy and entrepreneurialism of young people in rural communities. We must deliver all of this in a sustainable way and in a way that protects and enhances our natural and cultural heritage.

"In order to do this we need to improve the viability of Scottish land-based and other rural businesses, including skills training, provide public goods including attractive landscapes, healthy biodiversity, water resources, animal health welfare and open access and facilitate local economic development."

The Minister also announced that from the 2007 application period common grazing committees will be able to apply under Land Management Contracts to undertake land based measures on that that land.

This consultation paper invites views on the key themes and priorities for the Rural Development Strategy for Scotland. The Strategy will guide the use of European Union (EU) funds and other resources for rural development in the 2007-13 Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).

The strategy will form part of a UK National Strategy Plan which must be submitted to the European Commission (EC) prior to submission of the 2007-13 SRDP in summer 2006.

The budget for Rural Development for 2007-2013 is not yet known and will not be known until decisions are made in Europe about the allocation of resources to Member States.

The consultation on the Rural Development Programme for Scotland 2007-2013 will be a two-part process consisting of the consultation launched today ('The Strategic Plan') which will run to March 29 and a complementary consultation on the Programme itself, including more detailed information on delivery mechanisms.