According to the UK’s National Ecosystem Assessment, 10.6% of England, 1.9% of Scotland, 3.6% of Northern Ireland and 4.1% of Wales are classified as urban, meaning that around 93% of the UK’s land area is classed as natural, eg farmland, woodlands, grasslands mountains and heaths. Around 20% of the population live in the countryside.

Not only is the countryside host to differing landscapes and ecological networks, it also consists of a disparate pattern of social and economic enterprises, with a range of issues from farming challenges, education and health care through to the management of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rural businesses face a host of interconnected opportunities while social issues include the provision of basic services such as shops, post offices, rural broadband and adapting to the needs of an ageing population.

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