Rural areas make a unique and important contribution to our economy and way of life but are often left out of low-carbon planning and strategies, which frequently have an urban focus.
Rural areas face distinct challenges compared to urban areas, specifically a declining and ageing population, less access to opportunities, and greater challenges in transport and energy infrastructure.
However, they also have many advantages, particularly in renewable energy generation and carbon-positive environment management, with an abundance of resources available to them to develop new climate-friendly and socio-economically beneficial actions.
This policy brief explores the challenges faced by rural areas, and how decarbonisation can benefit them, focusing on low-carbon energy, sustainable transport modes, and environmental management for ecosystem services.
It highlights good practices and project achievements from Interreg Europe projects that may prove inspirational for other rural regions in Europe and draws together materials from the Policy Learning Platform to provide a comprehensive overview of other available guidance.