DAERA seeks views on Review of the Schedule of the Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016

Date published: 05 October 2020

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has today commenced a consultation exercise to inform the review of the list of bodies and persons set out in the Schedule to the Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016.


The Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016 was introduced in 2016 with the aim of helping to ensure that consideration of the needs of people in rural areas became more firmly embedded within public authorities.  

The Act applies to Northern Ireland government departments, district councils and the other public authorities listed in the Schedule to the Act.  

The Department is undertaking a review of the bodies and persons set out in the Schedule and is interested in hearing the views of stakeholders on whether any amendments to the Schedule should be made.  

Launching the consultation, Minister Poots said “The Rural Needs Act is one of my department’s key rural policy tools. The Act requires public authorities listed in Schedule to have due regard to the social and economic needs of people in rural areas when undertaking certain activities. This is helping to deliver better outcomes for people in rural areas and will help make rural communities more sustainable. I am keen to hear the views of stakeholders to help inform this review.”   

Download the consultation document.

The closing date for responses is 16 November 2020.

Notes to editors: 

1. The Animal Health and Welfare Stakeholder Forum is an industry group, established to facilitate consultation and engagement between the Department and its key stakeholders. Members of the relevant sub group are:

  • Holstein UK - John Martin
  • National Sheep Association (NSA) - Edward Adamson
  • North of Ireland Veterinary Association (NIVA) - Aurelie Moralis
  • NI Pork and Bacon Forum - Deirdre McIvor
  • NI Poultry Federation - Margaret Hardy
  • Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) - Geoff Thompson
  • Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) - Tim Kirby

2. DAERA has worked closely with the stakeholder sub group to develop the following five proposed animal health and welfare outcomes:

  • We keep our animals healthy and treat them well.
  • We have a competitive, innovative livestock industry that contributes to our economic prosperity.
  • We protect public health and our food from animal-related disease.
  • We take a sustainable approach to the farming of animals that respects the environment.
  • We have animal health and welfare safeguards that are widely recognised and trusted.

3. The consultation can be accessed from the DAERA website, as well as from ni direct. 

4. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.

5. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.

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