United Kingdom

Rural access to services

Key points

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Graph 1: Local services

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Graph 2: Cars

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Why this indicator was originally chosen

The availability of many rural services has been declining for a number of years State of the countryside, Countryside Agency, 2003 and each year previously. and is a particular concern for pensioners given that only a minority of pensioner households have a car and can thus easily travel to distant services.

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Definitions and data sources

The first graph shows proportion of the rural population who have local access to selected services, with the data shown separately for people living in parishes of up to 1,000 people, from 1,000 to 2,999 people, and 3,000 or more people.  These parish groupings have been chosen on the grounds that, collectively, they each make up about a third of the rural population.  The selected services are two basic essential services (shop/store and GP surgery) and the two main transport services (buses and taxis/dial-a-ride).

The data source is the 2000 Rural Services Survey undertaken by the Countryside Agency (the dataset for which is no longer publicly available).  The data relates to England.

The second graph shows the proportion of pensioners without a car, with the data shown separately for rural and urban districts and, within this, for single pensioners and pensioner couples.

The data source is the 2001 Census (table so062).  The data relates to England.  The classification of districts into rural and urban is that defined by the Countryside Agency.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: high.  The Rural Services Survey is a comprehensive and substantial survey, as is the Census.

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External links

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Relevant 2007 Public Service Agreements

None directly relevant.

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The numbers

Graph 1

Service Parish population
All rural parishes 0-999 1000-2,999 3,000+
no evening bus service 39% 69% 41% 23%
no bus service at any time 9% 13% 8% 9%
no taxi or dial-a-ride service 53% 71% 57% 43%
no post office 16% 48% 11% 4%
no village shop 19% 49% 12% 10%

Graph 2

Population group Proportion without cars
Rural districts Urban districts
Single pensioners 60% 72%
Pensioner couples 14% 26%
Non-pensioner households 10% 23%
All households 18% 30%

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