Rural Proofing Vital To South Down's Future Says Hazzard

South Down MLA Chris Hazzard (Sinn Féin) has urged rural dwellers across South Down to engage with the ongoing public consultation on proposals for a new Rural Proofing Bill.

The Bill, which would require policy-makers to assess whether proposed policy is likely to have an impact in rural areas and will be open for consultation since until 16 March 2015.

dn_screenMr Hazzard said: “The proposed Rural Proofing Bill will ensure that the interests of rural dwellers are catered for in any development and delivery of policy and public services.

“It is vital for our rural communities across South Down that we promote and protect rural life and make sure that rural issues are an integral part of the development of government policy and public services.

“South Down is the third largest constituency in the North of Ireland, with a large rural community. It is absolutely vital that our rural dwellers have access to the same services and opportunities as people living in urban areas.”

Mr Hazzard added: “The proposed Bill will give a strong statutory basis for rural proofing and ensure that rural needs are firmly embedded across government. I strongly encourage all interested parties and stakeholders to respond to this consultation.

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

“and will run until 16 March 2015”