Countryside Alliance criticises State of the Countryside Report

THE COMMISSION for Rural Communities’ State of the Countryside Report shows that “the fabric of rural Britain continues to tear”, according to the Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart.

The report, released by the newly reformed Countryside Agency, the Commission for Rural Communities, provides statistics on many aspects of rural life including crime, affordable housing and transport.

“Of continuing concern to the Countryside Alliance is the lack of affordable housing in rural areas. Every year the statistics are alarming and real progress is critical if we are to have sustainable rural communities,” said Mr Hart.

“If people cannot afford to live in their home community and are forced to buy elsewhere because of high house prices, the disintegration of the community structure is inevitable.

“This year’s report shows that quality of life in the countryside is generally good, which is to be welcomed, but growing affordable housing concerns shows that this is certainly not the case for all.

The Commission for Rural Communities was created as part of new legislation to devolve delivery of rural policies; this was fully supported by many rurally focussed groups, including the Alliance.

“This is the sixth State of the Countryside Report, every one of which has identified the same key problems,” added Mr Hart.

The Alliance is now calling on the government to “deliver calls for action and delivery on the ground, rather than simply promising much while the fabric of rural Britain continues to tear.”

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