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Rural Stress

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has commissioned into stress in rural areas; what assessment he has made of levels of stress in rural areas; and what measures are being taken to reduce levels of stress in rural areas. (79581)

[holding answer 22 June 2006]: In 2003 DEFRA funded a study by Exeter university reviewing research on rural stress. In 2005 a study into “The Wider Social Impacts of Changes in the Structure of Agricultural Businesses” also considered issues of stress in the farming community.

Copies of these reports are available online at:

http://www.centres.ex.ac.uk/crr/pdf1/reports1/StressReview FinalReport.pdf

http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/research/soc_impact.htm

DEFRA is closely involved with a number of voluntary and community organisations working to alleviate the level of stress in rural areas through the Rural Stress Action plan. The plan supports £300,000 worth of projects each year, and funds are committed until March 2008.

Since it began in 2000 there have been two full evaluations of the Rural Stress Action plan. Copies of these can be found on the DEFRA website.

http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/stress/default.htm