O’Neill Publishes Proposals For New Rural Proofing Bill

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill today launched a public consultation on policy proposals for a new Rural Proofing Bill.

The Bill would require policy-makers to assess whether proposed policy is likely to have a different impact in rural areas compared with elsewhere.

dn_screenMinister O’Neill said: “The proposed Rural Proofing Bill will support the equitable treatment of rural dwellers by requiring their needs and the impact on rural communities to be appropriately addressed in the development and delivery of policy and public services.

“The Executive signed up to rural proofing in 2002. I want to strengthen that commitment by making sure that rural issues are an integral part of the development of government policy and public services and consideration of the needs of rural dwellers is firmly embedded across government.

“My aim is to bring forward this new legislation within the current Assembly mandate and, when enacted, this Bill will help support vibrant, thriving and sustainable rural communities, where people choose to live, work, learn and play.

“I would encourage all interested parties to respond to this consultation by 16 March.”

The consultation can be accessed on DARD’s website at:


and will run until 16 March 2015.

As part of the consultation exercise, DARD is hosting a series of public meetings to hear your views. The times and locations are:

* Thursday 19 February – Old Town Hall, Banbridge, 7pm-9pm * Friday 20 February – Garvagh Community Building, 11:30am-1:30pm * Wednesday 4 March – The Pavilion, Stormont Estate, Belfast, 10am-12noon

To register to attend, or for more information, please email:

rural.proofing@dardni.gov.uk or phone 028 9052 4106.

The public consultation exercise will run from 3 February to 16 March 2015. Details of the policy proposals will be available on DARD’s website: