Preliminary recommendations to assist with the development of a guidance framework and monitoring framework for rural proofing related to the Rural Needs Act
Briefing Paper one:
The Northern Ireland Executive has committed and re-committed to rural proofing policy starting from 2002. Legislation was initiated in November 2015 by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in order to put rural proofing on a statutory footing. The resulting Rural Needs Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 was granted Royal Ascent on 9 May 2016.
Research was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) through the Evidence and Innovation Programme to investigate ‘developing more effective rural proofing and rural champion models’ (Project E&I-15/2/05). Researchers from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland and the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University carried out focus groups and interviews from late October through early December with representatives from government departments, arms-length bodies, local government, rural organisations, and other stakeholders.
Participants were asked about their previous and current experience with rural proofing, as well as their understanding and interpretation of the new legislation. This brief has been prepared to provide evidence-based recommendations on developing guidance materials to assist public authorities in complying with the Act, as well as on implementing the monitoring and reporting obligations.