Public meetings on proposed Rural Proofing Bill

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In the weeks ahead, DARD will be consulting the public on proposals for legislation that will support the equitable treatment of rural dwellers.

The Bill if passed will make it a requirement for all government departments and local councils to consider the needs of rural dwellers and the impact on rural communities in the development and delivery of policy and public services.

Commenting on the issue of rural proofing UFU Rural Affairs Chair Freda Magill said: “Under DARD’s ‘Rural White Paper Action Plan’, which was agreed and launched by the Northern Ireland Executive in 2012, departments in Stormont made a voluntary commitment to carry out 
rural proofing of their policies.

“However, from our perspective this only seems to be happening on the odd occasion. There is a lot more work to be done on this issue, but we welcome the department’s commitment to make rural proofing work for the rural dwellers in Northern Ireland.

“Their engagement with stakeholders will help shape the directions to follow and we hope to continue to work with the department as this process develops and we would encourage members to attend so that their views can be fed into the consultation process.”

DARD has arranged to host a series of public meetings to hear your views. The times and locations are:

Thursday 19 February, 7pm–9pm -Old Town Hall, Banbridge, Co. Down

Friday 20 February, 11.30am–1.30pm - Garvagh Community Building, Garvagh, Wednesday

25 February, 2pm–4pm - CAFRE Loughry College, Cookstown

Thursday 26 February, 7pm–9pm -CAFRE Greenmount College

Monday 2 March, 11am–1pm - CAFRE, Enniskillen Campus

Tuesday 3 March, 7pm–9pm - Old Court House, Markethill

Wednesday 4 March, 10am–noon - The Pavilion, Stormont Estate, Belfast

Thursday 5 March, 2pm–4pm -Omagh Community Forum, Omagh

Friday 6 March, 2pm–4pm - Glenshane House, Dungiven

To register to attend, or for more information, please email: rural.proofing@dardni.gov.uk or phone 028 9052 4106.