As of late, there have been numerous new developments in the improvement of rural life, services, education and business possibilities in Scotland’s rural areas.
With the introduction of the new EU Common Agricultural Policy expected to bring significant changes to the management of farming, forestry and environmental management projects between 2014 and 2020, the Scottish government, along with other organizations responsible for the recent successes of Scotland’s rural life improvement projects, have been active in discussing future plans for more efficient funding options.
More Funding Sources and Opportunities
The three main sources of funding that have made – and continue to make – rural life in Scotland better are the Scottish government, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and various voluntary modulation efforts geared not only toward improving the agricultural and forestry sector, but also for protecting the environment and the quality of living in the countryside.
The latter has been the source of lengthy discussions in the government as the Scotland Rural Development Program has led to the provision of more than 1.2 billion pounds between 2007 and 2014, for economic, social and environmental measures, as well as to help develop rural Scotland in developing better conditions for organic farming, woodland management projects and improved support for farms located in remote areas in 2014 and 2015.
What Are the Current Results?
Even though the new funding efforts have only started impacting local Scottish communities about five years ago, a number of remarkable results and benefits have already been noted that have sparked new discussions about new initiatives in the area.
Throughout the past few years, these accomplishments have included:
- Improved results in training and education and better career opportunities for students in the process of finishing their studies;
- A more effective distribution of local products and services, as well as fewer emergencies that are dealt with much more efficiently than in past years;
- Lower income depravation levels, higher incomes and more work opportunities;
- An overall better quality of life and growing life expectancy for the following years.
Although all these advantages have become visible in only a few years, government officials have also stated that the positive tendency toward a better life and the remarkable resilience and dedication of the rural population are key factors that have made these achievements possible.
Also, with more visitors and tourists expected to take a greater interest in rural life in Scotland, it is expected that even more successful projects will be funded in the next few years not only to keep services and accommodation standards as high as possible, but also to protect the environment and provide for better and faster access to remote locations.