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New group to help repopulate rural Highland areas

By Hazel Lawson


COMMUNITIES across the Highlands will be able to seek help from a new group encouraging people to live and work in rural areas.

Almost half of Scotland’s land is designated as sparsely populated areas (SPAs), with only three per cent of the population.

The rural repopulation and renewal working group has been formed to look at ways of encourage more people to live and work in rural communities, by combining research with practical support.

It follows recent Scottish Government research by the James Hutton Institute which forecast that Scotland’s SPAs risk losing a quarter of their population within the next 30 years if current trends continue.

The repopulation group includes members from Community Land Scotland, Development Trusts Association Scotland, The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Dr Calum MacLeod, policy director with Community Land Scotland, said: “Our intention is to contribute to a thriving rural Scotland by helping communities to increase their populations in demographically sustainable ways.

“We already know that lots of people want to move to rural communities but that there are barriers around affordable housing, employment opportunities and access to services that prevent them from doing so.”

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