DEFRA HAS announced it has allocated £1m to boost science and research aimed at helping to shape a prosperous future for rural England.

The money has been given to the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme.

The RELU programme has been designed to support social and economic development and to promote environmental protection and conservation in the countryside.

Junior DEFRA minister Larry Whitty said a mix of social and natural science which dealt with real-life rural issues could support efforts to improve the quality of life in rural areas.

“DEFRA‘s five-year strategy is all about creating thriving rural communities,” he said.

“That means affordable housing, access to local services and an economic boost for areas lagging behind the relative prosperity of the majority of rural England.

“It means tackling social exclusion and it means protecting and enhancing the countryside, vital to the health of the rural economy.”