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The Role of the LEADER Approach post-Brexit

LEADER symbol

LEADER is the European Union's (EU) area-based, participatory and bottom-up approach to rural development. Launched in 1991, it is widely regarded as one of Europe's most successful regeneration programmes. Its origins can be traced back to the 'Future of Rural Society' (European Commission 1988), which set out the need for a wider concept of rural development. LEADER has been active in Scotland since the early 1990s, and the five successive LEADER programmes have funded some 6,194 projects across Scotland, resulting in over £500 million in investment in community development. The leverage impact of LEADER is significant.

This study, comissioned by the Scottish Government, reviews the achievements of LEADER in Scotland since the early 1990s, and sets out options for the future of LEADER post-Brexit. 

The project objectives were: 

  • To understand the legacy of LEADER funded projects;
  • To understand the role of LEADER Local Action Groups (LAGs)  and Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) in a changing policy/delivery landscape;
  • To understand success factors for effective implementation of the LEADER approach, with a special focus on longevity and sustainability;
  • To set out options for the future of the LEADER approach and for local development in Scotland. 

This project was conducted in four stages, including a desk based project review of LEADER in Scotland since 1991, Interviews with national and regional stakeholders and a workshop discussion with LEADER staff. Several LAGs and LEADER projects were also studied in more detail, using a case study approach. The report sets out 15 reccomendations. 

A summary report and full technical reports can be downloaded here


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