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Rural Areas: Community Development

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make representations to his EU counterparts on a replacement for the LEADER Programme. (257031)

The LEADER approach is now being implemented through mainstream rural development programming rather than as a separate programme in its own right. Under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), 61 Local Action Groups have been selected so far to deliver the LEADER approach. This element of the RDPE has only been operational since January 2008 and we will want to review progress over the remainder of the programming period with a view to preparing for EU negotiations on the next programming period. The current programme runs until 2013, and therefore we do not envisage discussions at EU level on the future rural development programme for some time.