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Rural Affairs

Rural proofing

What is rural proofing?

Rural proofing is a commitment by the Government to ensure that all its domestic policies take account of rural circumstances and needs (Rural White Paper, 2000). It is a mandatory part of the policy making process, which means that, as policies are developed, policy makers should systematically:

  • consider whether their policy is likely to have a different impact in rural areas, because of particular rural circumstances or needs;
  • make a proper assessment of those impacts, if they are likely to be significant.
  • adjust the policy, where appropriate, with solutions to meet rural needs and circumstances.

Rural proofing applies to all policies, programmes and initiatives and it applies to both the design and delivery stages. It is a formal part of the Government’s policy making Impact Assessment guidance.

Rural Proofing Toolkit

The Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) has published a new Rural Proofing Toolkit (May 2009) to assist with the delivery of better policy making across Government. This toolkit will provide policy makers at all levels with a practical understanding of rural proofing and its importance within mainstream policy making approaches. The new resources and guidance are available on the CRC website, please see

The Toolkit builds on the previous rural proofing checklist and has been updated and refreshed to offer a broader approach to assessing and valuing the needs of rural communities within mainstream policy decision making. It emphasises that sparsity and rurality are essential considerations of all good policy making, and provides examples of good rural proofing within government.

Rural proofing annual assessment

The Commission for Rural Communities publishes an annual assessment of the rural proofing of central Departments and Government Offices for the Regions. CRC’s role is to provide expert, independent advice to government and to help us ensure that policies reflect the real needs of people living and working in rural England, with a particular focus on tackling disadvantage

Page last modified: 19 May 2009
Page published: 16 August 2007

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs