Publications

Newsletter: 2020

 

Find out about the latest ongoing research in the project.

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Newsletter: 2019

Find out about the latest ongoing research in the project. 

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Policy brief: Payments for public goods - Rethinking what it is to be a good farmer

Engagement in sustainable farm practices and policy initiatives is not solely based on a rational financial calculation of costs versus benefits. Instead, farmer decisions are shaped by a range of other external and internal factors, such as farm type, and their values, beliefs and norms, including what other farmers are doing. This makes the impact of any new policy interventions, such as shifting from direct payments towards payments for public goods hard to predict (at least in short to medium term), as participation in ecosystem markets may not be in keeping with farmers’ own personal goals and values. A careful consideration of ways in which we can best encourage farmer engagement in any new policy initiatives (or the delivery of ecosystem services more generally) will, therefore, be an important step towards maximising the effectiveness of any changes in policy.

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Policy brief: Ecosystem markets for a green recovery - Policy challenges and opportunities

Ecosystem markets have the potential to fund significant reductions in Greenhouse Gases from the land use sector, while providing new income streams for a sector that has in some areas been significantly impacted by Covid-19. However, to stimulate demand for and supply of projects for new ecosystem markets, a number of policy actions are needed.

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Book chapter: Legal Models for Implementing Agri-Environment Policy after Brexit

The 2018 Health and Harmony policy statement signaled major changes in the way that public financial support for agriculture is delivered in England. Similar discussions on future policy are ongoing in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Public financial support for agriculture post-Brexit will be based on the principle of ‘public money for public goods.’ But what are ‘public goods’ in this context, and how should environmental policy be restructured in its application to agriculture if it is to fit within this new policy framework? Agriculture will also need to play a central role in our response to climate change mitigation, and this will, similarly, require significant shifts in public policy (and public financial incentives) for future farming. This chapter examines legal models for capturing the environmental objectives of future farm policy, and in particular the idea that farm policy should be based on payments to farmers for providing ecosystem services (‘PES’). Key questions include the identification of those ecosystem services that farming can deliver for the future; how these should be measured and incentivized; how private funding for environmental land management might be encouraged and then captured in mixed public/private funding models for PES; and how PES arrangements can be given transactional effect and legal force? These are important issues that will need close examination if post-Brexit agri-environment policy is to be successfully restructured. To fully understand the scale of the challenge that this presents, we must first consider the manner in which agri-environment policy is implemented within current EU arrangements, before moving on to consider the options for reform following Brexit, and finally looking at the shape of the legal framework needed for the future governance of agri-environment policy in the UK.

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Opinion article: Improving the evidence base for delivery of public goods from public money in agri-environment schemes

There is growing interest around the world in more effectively linking public payments to the provision of public goods from agriculture. However, published evidence syntheses suggest mixed, weak or uncertain evidence for many agri-environment scheme options. To inform any future “public money for public goods” based policy, further synthesis work is needed to assess the evidence-base for the full range of interventions currently funded under agri-environment schemes. Further empirical research and trials should then focus on interventions for which there is mixed or limited evidence. Furthermore, to ensure the data collected is comparable and can be synthesised effectively, it is necessary to reach agreement on essential variables and methods that can be prioritised by those conducting research and monitoring. Future policy could then prioritise public money for the public goods that can most reliably be delivered, offering better value for taxpayers and improving the provision of ecosystem services from agricultural landscapes.

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Report: Exploring ecosystem markets for the delivery of public goods in the UK

Understanding how private ecosystem markets operate and the synergies and differences between existing schemes and trading platforms can support better integration of public and private finance, and broaden the range of outcomes and the scale at which these can be delivered. Find out more about these ecosystem markets, and the challenges and opportunities for UK agriculture. 

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Report: Integrating Natural Capital Schemes

Opportunity analysis for integrating carbon markets into multifunctional landscape marketplaces, such as those developed by the Landscape Enterprise Networks (LENs) approach.

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Report: Resilient Dairy Social Innovation Lab

This report summarises the Social Innovation Lab led by Newcastle University, supported by project partners, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, 3Keel, Nestle and First Milk, which was held on 24th October 2018 in Cumbria. Initial findings were presented to Defra in December 2018.

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Policy Brief: What is the evidence that public money leads to public goods delivery from agri-environment schemes?

 

There is strong evidence that public goods including climate change mitigation, improved water quality and soil health can be provided by several on-farm interventions. There are policy options that could prioritise public money for public goods that can most reliably be delivered, while developing the evidence-base for interventions that are feasible on-farm via Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) pilot trials

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Policy Brief: What role for public-private partnerships to deliver public goods?

Place-based Payments for Ecosystem Service schemes are broadening to new land uses, habitats and services. Now Landscape Enterprise Networks (LENs) are pooling funds from multiple private investors to deliver public goods across a broader range of land uses and habitats than ever before. In this policy brief we summarise existing evidence behind the LENs approach and considers the role of public-private partnerships in post-Brexit agricultural policy. 

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