Unleashing Rural Opportunity

Today the Conservative government published Unleashing Rural Opportunity - a new set of initiatives supporting housing, bolstering connectivity, and upgrading transport in rural communities as we work to grow the economy. 

  • The countryside makes up 90 per cent of our country’s land mass, but many rural communities do not enjoy the same quality of services as our cities, so it is right that we work to improve the lives of rural residents.
  • That is why today the government published "Unleashing Rural Opportunity," which includes initiatives which will support farmers who wish to build residential homes on their land, bolster connectivity in hard-to-reach areas, improve local transport networks through our Future of Transport Rural Strategy, and help more communities upgrade local services such as libraries and village halls.
  • A thriving countryside benefits our whole country - helping to create jobs, spread prosperity, and grow our economy.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

"I have pledged to build a better future for people in this country, and our rural communities are right at the heart of that promise.

That’s why I’m determined to make sure that their interests are front and centre of all our work to grow the economy and strengthen our communities – so that every part of our country gets the support it needs to thrive."

To boost the supply of new affordable housing to rent or buy in rural areas, government will create a network of new “Rural Housing Enablers” to act as honest brokers between developers and communities. Backed by £2.5 million of funding, they will help to identify sites with local support for development and in keeping with the local area.

Government will consult on making it easier for farmers to change their redundant agricultural buildings into family homes by cutting red tape. Planning rules could be changed to provide a more generous threshold delivered through the more streamlined planning process, while providing local authorities with new powers to safeguard against second homes and holiday lets.

Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said:

"The countryside makes up over 90% of the UK’s land mass, it is home to millions of people, and contributes over £250 billion to our economy in England alone. Rural areas are rich in human and natural potential with strong communities and entrepreneurial businesses.

This government is committed to making sure that the needs of people and businesses in rural areas are at the heart of policymaking.  We want to go further in unleashing that potential and support people in rural areas to build the sustainable future they want to see. Unleashing Rural Opportunity sets out what we have already delivered for rural communities and new initiatives to build on that record."


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