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Country News - 2004

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New uses for urban/rural fringe?

Thursday 29 January 2004

SOME 20% of Britain's rural land is in fact on the fringes of towns and big cities - and has fallen into a sort of limbo where much of it is of little use to neither townsfolk nor farmers, says a new report from the Government's Countryside Agency.

It is often half derelict, used for the grazing of a few horses owned by the townsfolk, large areas are taken up by public utilities like electricity sub stations and such agriculture as there is struggling, said the agency yesterday when it launched a new initiative to find better uses for fringe land.

The agency is calling for a nationwide consultation process between local authorities, business and voluntary organisations to find ways of using this land for leisure and new small businesses which could create thousands of jobs.

Said agency deputy chairwoman Pat Warhurst: "This consultation will give us the opportunity to consider what the rural/urban fringe could mean to the people who live, work and visit there and how to achieve the best social, economic and environmental benefits from this often overlooked resource."


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