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Related to: Ageing Population, [[Socio-Economic Inequality]], Internet Access, Biodiversity

Overall population

ONS estimates for 2009 1 suggest that 14% of the local population live in dispersed rural areas or villages, this compares to 10% for England as a whole and 20% for the South West.

Some rural areas have experienced the greatest proportion of population ageing in the authority.

Access to services

A 2009 study on access to rural services 2 made a number of obervations about the changing nature of rural life in Bath and North East Somerset, particularly with regards acces to services:

  • Rural communities have experienced significant social change over the last couple of decades.
  • Very often villages do not offer adequate services for the local community to access, which forces people to travel out of their community to access services such as doctor’s surgeries, schools, shops and post offices.
  • For many, private transport, either a car or taxi, is the only way of accessing these services. The increased costs of accessing services together with the increased costs of housing has led to rural living becoming less and less affordable, and for some completely unaffordable.
  • This is particularly a problem for older people, families with young children and young people.

Speed of Internet Access has more recently been identified as an issue for people in rural areas.3

 Rural Deprivation

Although [[socio-economic inequality]] is characterised as a feature of the urban environment, a proportion of rural communities also experience inequalities. Analysis of some of the lowest-income households in Bath and North East Somerset suggests that between 8% (Chew Valley South) and 18% (Bathavon West) of residents in wards outside the city of Bath and the Market Towns are in receipt of income related support or tax credits.4.

Although the methods of data collection do not allow the identification of individuals, it is likely that these populations will experience similar risks to those living in larger, more deprived communities.

Health and Care

Access to the Natural Environment has been identified as having a positive impact on a range of health outcomes, such as mental health 5

There is some evidence that people living in rural areas experience, on the whole, better lifestyle outcomes than the population as a whole, such as Smoking6

Consultation with Carers has defined those carers who live in rural areas as potentially missing services7

Natural Environment

A number of sites in rural Bath and North East Somerset have been defined as being of national and international importance for Biodiversity8, including

  • Chew Valley Lake
  • Blagdon Lake
  • Cleaves Wood
  • Lone Dole Wood
  • Harptree Court
  • Monkswood Valley