THREE years ago, after the foot and mouth disaster, the Government promised that all future legislation would be subject to so-called “rural proofing” – i.e., measured by the possible effects it would have in country areas.
The Countryside Agency, which has been told to monitor the progress towards this ideal, reported yesterday that improvements were being made and most Whitehall departments – but not all – were subjecting proposed legislation to the rural roofing tests.
However, more needs to be done, the agency concluded. “This is not time to take the foot off the accelerator,” said chairwoman Pam Warhurst.
Further progress has been made with rural proofing in 2003/04, she said, including steps taken to implement the main strategic recommendations in the last annual report – “ However, once again the number of tangible outcomes we are able to report is disappointing.”