Recession has created a reverse migration in England with more than 100,000 people opting to move to rural areas instead of continuing to live as urban dwellers in the past two years.
A report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) found that tens of thousands of people are searching for new lives in the countryside as a result of recession. This comes as experts believe having better broadband connections in rural areas could be a driving factor behind city dwellers to decide to relocate and continue working remotely. Meanwhile, figures show a slowdown in the economy has caused housing in the rural areas to become more affordable. However, this mass exodus also creates some problems for rural communities since some of those who choose to move are not familiar or prepared to accept the realities of rural life. This was highlighted in a warning by a committee of MPs last month who described the phenomena as a “rural penalty”. It means that although the exodus enhances house prices and council tax but rural communities suffer from less funding for local schools, and poor mobile phone coverage, for example. “Some people have quite an idyllic image of what country life should be like,” said Victoria Harris, director of the Prince’s Rural Action Programme. “When they get there and realise that it is a working landscape and you have tractors coming through the village at six o clock in the morning, it might not go down so well”, she added. The Defra report found that an extra 48,000 people moved into rural areas in 2010-11, on top of 54,000 who relocated to the countryside during the previous year.