12 December 2000
Make rural option ‘less attractive’

By FWi staff

RURAL areas should be made less attractive if the Government is to halt the exodus from urban areas, argues an academic in The Guardian.

Tony Travers, director of the Greater London Group at the London School of Economics, argues that white-paper plans to improve both are contradictory.

It does not add up that ministers can make it less likely people will quit metropolitian centres, while ensuring rural dwellers are happier, he claims.

“The paradox is that stopping the urban exodus would probably require less Government action to make rural areas attractive,” says Mr Travers.

He says rural problems tend to focus on “the difficulties of a minority of individuals”.

But solutions “will have the effect of making the countryside as a whole even more attractive than it already is”.

This will encourage more urban dwellers to leave grime and poor services in urban areas for better rural facilities.

“By moving to rural areas, they will enjoy less stressed schools and hospitals, cleaner air and the chance of living somewhere with which they are really satisfied,” argues Mr Travers.