ENGLAND’S RURAL Development Programme has benefited rural communities, rural economies and the environment, according to a DEFRA report.
The ERDP Annual Report says in 2004 the Rural Enterprise Scheme helped to create or sustain over 2000 full time equivalent jobs.
It also delivered over 29,000 training days for farmers and foresters under the Vocational Training Scheme.
On the environmental side, Countryside Stewardship agreements reached a total estimated cumulative area of 325,000ha while Environmentally Sensitive Area agreements totalled 132,000ha.
Defra is now preparing for the successor to the ERDP, which will operate from 2007 to 2013.
A full public consultation on the proposed new European draft Rural Development Regulation was held over the Summer of 2004.