The Living World
21 Topics | 21 Quizzes

Changes in Rural Landscape through Economic Activity: Case Studies

Although economic activity generally happens in urban areas like cities or towns, rural areas are affected differently. Economic development in rural areas can lead to growth, or people may move to rural areas to escape the high costs of cities, causing rural growth.

However, rural areas can sometimes be negatively impacted by economic development, leading to rural decline.

Case Study: South Cambridgeshire

Key Changes: Consistent increase in the ageing population (65+). The area has a population of 150,000 that is rising due to increased migration from Europe and other areas of the UK.

Social Effects:

  • Increased traffic due to reliance on cars (80% car ownership), which leads to longer commute times.
  • Modern developments take away from the rural aesthetic and can break down community spirit.
  • Commuters use services where they work, reducing spending in the local economy.

Economic Effects:

  • High rent prices make the area unaffordable for many young people, who move away, taking disposable income elsewhere.
  • High petrol prices due to increased demand.
  • Increased migration from Eastern Europe places pressure on local services.
  • Farmers selling land to developers, reducing local job opportunities.

Case Study: Outer Hebrides

Key Changes: An overall decline of 50% in population since 1901, with only 46,000 people living there. Limited opportunities for young people have led to greater out-migration.

Social Effects:

  • The number of school children is expected to fall dramatically, leading to school closures.
  • Smaller working-age population.
  • Ageing population with a shortage of young people to provide care.

Economic Effects:

  • Government subsidies are not enough to keep local businesses open.
  • Foreign-owned ships dominate the fishing industry, reducing opportunities for locals.
  • Increase in tourism during the 2010s due to natural beauty, but limited infrastructure fails to support them, leading to financial losses.

Case Study: Tibenham, Norfolk

Key Changes: Declining population due to lack of major motorway connections. The main form of employment was farming, but mechanisation reduced the availability of jobs.

Social Effects:

  • Many people of working age have moved away from Tibenham, seeking employment.
  • Only one primary school remains, with a small number of teachers and pupils. 37% of the population have less than 5 GCSEs.
  • The average age of residents is higher than national averages, with the largest age group being 45-59.

Economic Effects:

  • Only one pub remains as the sole local business, with other local shops and services closing.
  • Average house prices have fallen by 46% since 2012, lower than surrounding areas.
  • Reduced working population leads to less tax revenue for local services.

Case Study: Elmbridge, Surrey

Key Changes: Great influx of people, leading to an expanding population. Its proximity to London (25 min commute) and access to motorways and countryside makes it attractive to commuters.

Social Effects:

  • Many families and individuals in their 30s move in, increasing the demand for school places.
  • Some schools are oversubscribed.
  • 20% of the population commutes to London, leaving the area quiet during workdays.
  • High costs of living and renting push out less affluent residents, which reduces diversity.

Economic Effects:

  • Residents have a high average income, with earnings over £1000 per week.
  • High disposable income boosts local service spending.
  • House prices are the highest in Surrey, with an average of £591,000.

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