Six ways to transform Scottish rural life

Rural parliament

Finlay Carson MSP and SRA's Emma Cooper at a Scottish Parliament reception outlining the Rural Parliament's asks.

Countryside communities want more decision-making to be carried out at a local level

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29th January 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Scotland’s rural communities have presented six demands which they say will make life better for people living in the countryside.

Scottish Rural Action (SRA) published key findings from the third Scottish Rural Parliament during an exhibition at Holyrood.

The assembly took place in November and brought 400 people working, volunteering and representing rural communities together with policy makers and influencers to explore solutions to rural challenges. 

Contributions during the event from more than 50 workshops have now been analysed and SRA, which organises the Rural Parliament, has published Six Rural Asks.

They want more decision-making to be carried out at a local level, and more services delivered at a local level, a transparent, formalised and obligatory process for identifying rural-urban tensions and needs and for the rural voice to be heard on issues which are key to the future and sustainability of rural communities.

Other asks are that communities need to be educated and supported to take advantage of new legislation designed to empower them, a recognition that rural communities can be and are agents of change and a need for increased cross-sector knowledge and experience-sharing. 

Emma Cooper, chief executive of SRA, said: “While the Rural Parliament covered a very broad range of topics and challenges, there were clear overarching themes and asks from rural Scotland that primarily relate to equality, inclusivity and knowledge sharing.  

“What has emerged from the Rural Parliament is a clear demand that the voice of rural Scotland should be heard. This is particularly crucial during the Brexit negotiations and post-Brexit policy development. We know that rural areas will be particularly affected by divergence from EU policies and removal from EU structural funds.    

“No matter what constitutional and funding changes take place in the years ahead, there is a real opportunity for Scotland to take a more inclusive and more innovative approach to meeting rural needs.”

The key findings from the Rural Parliament can be read on the Scottish Rural Action website.