About Rural Needs

Information in relation to Rural Needs and the Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016

The Rural Needs Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

The Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016 (the Act) provides a statutory duty on public authorities to have due regard to rural needs when developing, adopting, implementing or revising policies, strategies and plans, and when designing and delivering public services. 

The commencement of the Act is being implemented on a phased approach, beginning with all government departments and local councils from 1 June 2017 and for the remaining public authorities listed in the Schedule to the Act from 1 June 2018.

Guidance on the Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016

DAERA has produced revised guidance to assist public authorities in understanding their statutory duties under the Rural Needs Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 and in fulfilling their obligations under the Act.

Online versions of the templates

To assist public authorities, DAERA will publish samples of Rural Needs Impact Assessments when they become available which we feel demonstrate good examples of having due regard to rural needs. 

List of Rural Stakeholder organisations

Below is a link to the websites of some rural stakeholders which you may find useful:

Rural research and statistics

Rural statistics

DAERA’s Rural Statistics pages contain rural/urban comparisons across a range of social and economic issues.

NISRA’s Neighbourhood Information Service (NINIS)

Detailed profiles for specific geographic areas can be accessed using NISRA’s Neighbourhood Information Service (NINIS). The website is continually updated and provides valuable information on a range of key public statistics.

Agri-Food & Bioscience Institute

AFBI carries out high technology research and development, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing functions for DAERA and other Government departments, public bodies and commercial companies.


Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) can provide help on statistics. 

More useful links

Further information / contacts

For advice in relation to the Rural Needs guidance please contact Sustainable Rural Communities Branch on tel: 028 9052 4107 or 028 9076 5869.

Back to top