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Holyrood consults on rural future

THE SCOTTISH government has launched a three month consultation on plans to boost the rural economy.

Last year the government commissioned the recently formed advisory body, the Rural Development Council (RDC), to draw up proposals for helping rural communities survive and thrive the current recession.

They returned with a list of “step changes” covering areas such as regulations affecting small business, partnership working, multipurpose land use, renewable energy, development trusts, training, affordable housing, high speed broadband and transport.

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Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead launched the consultation at the Turriff agricultural show on Monday, saying: “Rural Scotland and its people have a central role to play in strengthening Scotland’s economy.

“It has an important role in meeting the nation’s challenges in relation to food, water and energy security and is critical to our efforts to tackle climate change.”

Having commissioned the RDC report “Speak Up for Rural Scotland”, the government is inviting feedback.

“I urge anyone with an interest in rural Scotland to read this document and let me know what these proposals will mean for individuals, communities and organisations,” Mr Lochhead said.

“Whatever direction we take we must ensure that the energy and enterprising spirit of rural communities can continue to punch above their weight.”

The RDC report is available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/07/22091602/1

The consultation details are available at:  http://www.scotland.gov.uk/speakup

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