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Improving the Quality of Life in the Countryside

Date: May 2, 2001
Our Ref: 833farring

Geographers at the University of Aberdeen have been appointed by the Government to lead a £140,000 groundbreaking rural research project across Britain.

The two-year project will look at ways of improving quality of life for those living in the countryside by demonstrating to policy-makers how best to bring together the different social, environmental and economic priorities for rural access and services.

The research team, which is led by Dr John Farrington of the Geography Department and Arkleton Centre, University of Aberdeen, comprises partners from Aberdeen, the Universities of Cardiff (Professor Terry Marsden and Dr Gillian Bristow) and Sheffield, (Dr Tim Richardson) and the Derek Halden Consultancy.

Dr Farrington said that the project would model policy options offering different trade-offs between the social, economic and environmental components of rural sustainability.

“Policy models will be tested for their effectiveness in maintaining accessibility to services and facilities for rural populations, while minimising environmental impact and maximising social and economic viability.”

Dr. Farrington said: “There were will be six varying study areas in Scotland, England and Wales. The project is taking place at a time when there are many difficult issues facing the British countryside. The search for a viable and vibrant future for the countryside is both critical and pressing. The results of this research will contribute to the policy-making process, which will help to shape the future of our rural areas.”

The UK Treasury, under its Evidence-Based Policy Fund initiative, has provided half the funding for the project, with the rest being awarded by the Scottish Executive, the Countryside Agency and the National Assembly for Wales.  The project will be co-ordinated by the Rural Affairs Division of the Scottish Executive.


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