Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence


  Half way through the year we have met 80 per cent of our Corporate Plan targets. Some have been delayed due to foot-and-mouth. At the 12 month point we expect to have met 95 per cent of targets.

  In the last 12 months we have delivered:

    —  our input into Rural White Paper resulted in new investment in the countryside: £5 million on parish plans, £15 million for parish transport and £15 million to help village services;

    —  an ambitious new strategy setting out our work programme;

    —  initiated and ran two grant schemes in response to foot-and-mouth: the charity match-funding scheme and help with re-opening footpaths—each set up within two weeks of go-ahead;

    —  £2.3 million of grants to people living in 249 villages;

    —  health checked 57 number of market towns with another 80 waiting in the wings this year;

    —  two regions mapped for open access land—first major milestone in delivering the CROW Act;

    —  245 millennium greens;

    —  the first comprehensive map of essential services in rural England; and

    —  20 indicators which will be developed to measure the state of England's countryside—our rural barometer.

  using good practice examples we have previously funded, the Agency has now persuaded:

    —  The Housing Corporation has published a policy statement to the effect that it will ensure that all its future policies will be carefully rural proofed.

    —  Wealden Council have announced that it will be rural proofing all its housing policies with other councils indicating they will follow suit.

    —  Working with the EU and supportive local farmers, our Peak District Land Management Initiative has persuaded local farmers to pool their production subsidies to pay for improved land management practices instead.


Human resources

  96 per cent of our staff (at H grade and above) hold a degree (or above) in a relevant subject area.


  £70 million per annum.


  Headquarters in Cheltenham and London, and offices in eight regions.

November 2001

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