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Rural Survey As You Leave Polling Stations

Researcher To Gauge "quality of life" In Rural Scotland
People living in rural areas of Scotland have been urged to take part in a quality of life survey being carried out on Election Day.

Dr Holger Bergmann, a researcher at the University of Aberdeen's Business School, is asking residents in Caithness, Sutherland, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen to take a few minutes to give their views on rural life after leaving their polling station on May 3.

Questions will touch on a number of topics such as the impact of local farming on the environment, community spirit in countryside areas, and the role of farming and forestry in the region.

"The survey is aimed at getting a broad and thorough understanding of the general quality of life perceptions among residents in Scottish communities," said Dr Bergmann. "Anyone who takes the time to answer the questions can be assured that their responses will remain confidential, and will in no circumstances be made available to anyone else other than the research team without explicit consent."

Dr Bergmann's study is part of a wider European Union research project called TOP-MARD (Towards a Policy Model of Multifunctional Agriculture
and Rural Development), whose main focus is to clarify the relationship between farming and rural development issues in EU states such as the
UK, Germany and Spain. In total, ten 10 EU member states and one non-member, Norway, are involved in the project.

"The survey is very simple and straightforward, and shouldn't take more than a few minutes for someone to complete when they're leaving the polling station on May 3," added Dr Begrmann. "It would be extremely helpful to the Scottish leg of the project if as many people as possible could take part."

The three-year TOP-MARD project involves studies in Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK and Norway.

Voters will be able to complete the survey at the following polling stations:
Caithness -
Lybster Community Centre,
Britannia Hall in Dunnet,
Assembly Rooms, Pulteneytown
Boys Brigade Halls in Thurso and Wick

 Durness Community Hall
Lairg Community Centre
Lochinver Village Hall

Dyce Primary School
Queens Cross Church
Lawston Primary School
Kingswell Primary School

Strathburn School (Inverurie)
Inverurie Town Hall
Stewarts Hall
Linden Community Centre in Huntly
Kintore Public Hall.