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Poots encourages rural policy consultation replies

WITH the consultation period set to close on Northern Ireland’s first ever Rural Policy Framework, Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots is encouraging those who have yet to respond to do so before September 6.

Speaking about the consultation, the Minister said: “I am delighted to hear that over 100 rural stakeholders have taken the time to participate in the department’s online webinars over the last number of weeks. Officials will host the last online webinar on August 31 at 7pm and I would encourage rural dwellers to have their say and tell us what they think about the framework as this is vitally important for the future of rural communities.

“Formal responses to the framework can be submitted through the Citizenspace website. Once the consultation is complete and approved, my officials will draft a new Rural Business and Community Investment Programme that will ensure that we support a sustainable rural Northern Ireland going forward.

“People living in rural communities face particular challenges such as reduced connectivity, poorer health, lack of access to employment and inferior infrastructure. This Framework aims to create a sustainable rural community where people want to live, work and be active.”

The framework focuses on five Thematic Pillars and associated priorities for intervention and will be a living document, flexible enough to respond to emerging rural issues as they happen. The five Thematic Pillars include Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Sustainable Tourism; Health and Wellbeing; Employment; and Connectivity.

n To respond to the consultation please visit consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/daera-central-services-and-rural-affairs/rural-policy-framework/

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