Triple blow for Norfolk’s rural residents

Rocketing petrol prices, soaring heating oil costs and cuts in public services are having a huge triple impact on Norfolk's large rural population, a conference in the county heard today.

Rural leaders and voluntary groups gathered to share ideas for tackling the crisis and are calling on Norfolk people to draw on the county's traditional values of self help and supporting neighbours.

Among disturbing statistics revealed at the Cost in the Countryside Conference, held in North Walsham, delegates heard that nearly 15pc of Norfolk residents are struggling to survive on less than �10,000 pa in a climate where petrol has reached �1.28 a litre, heating oil costs have risen 44pc and Norfolk County Council is planning �60m worth of cuts.

Rural residents are worse hit because they rely on cars in areas where public transport is inadequate, most are not connected to mains gas and the loss of services will mean many have to travel into towns and Norwich for support.

Read more about the conference and some of the innovative suggestions for helping Norfolk's besieged rural residents in tomorrow's EDP.