HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 c343W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) which organisations he has consulted in the preparation of the Rural White Paper; [103218]

(2) if he will make a statement on what measures he intends to introduce to maximise consultation on the Rural White Paper. [103219]

Mr. Mullin

A discussion document: "Rural England" was launched in February this year. It invited views on a series of questions on a wide range of rural issues. About 1,800 copies were sent out to organisations with an invitation to comment and a further 8,200 copies were distributed for seminars and issued on request. The document was also available on the DETR internet site. Just under 800 responses were received from a variety of national bodies, local authorities, parish councils, farming, environmental and other organisations, public, private and voluntary bodies, and individuals. A summary of the issues arising from the consultation process, including a list of respondents, is available in the House of Commons Library and on the DETR website.

The Cabinet Office's Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) have recently published their report on "Rural Economies", which is an important contribution to the debate about rural policies. The report highlights a series of issues for discussion and invites comments by 11 February 2000. Responses received will be considered in the preparation of the Rural White Paper.