Valuing our life support systems – Workshop 1:

Balancing our options for rural land use. Food, biodiversity, sustainable biofuels and flood prevention

There are competing demands on rural land in Britain. The traditional focus of the agricultural regulatory system has been on achieving a balance between the production of food and protection of the environment, as much of our biodiversity is dependent on farming methods. However, as our agricultural systems develop and novel crops – potentially genetically modified – are introduced for purposes such as biofuels, the regulatory system needs to evolve. Any evolution of this system should explicitly consider potential benefits as well as risks, and allow us to explore all options to cope with the increasing demands on our rural land.

This workshop aims to inform the development of the agricultural regulatory system and broaden the debate beyond the tensions between agriculture and the environment to include other issues such as energy production, climate change, water quality and flood prevention. All too often other environmental goods and services provided by rural land, beyond primary food production, are overlooked for their economic value, yet these add substantial elements to GDP. A holistic approach to land management is required for the future, incorporating social, economic and environmental considerations. We aim to explore gaps in research, policy and the implementation of policy, which need to be addressed to advance this more holistic approach.


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08.30amRegistration and coffee
09.00amOpening remarksWorkshop chair: Baroness Barbara Young, President, British Ornithological Society
09.05amOpening address: An overview of natural resource planningProf Tim O'Riordan, Sustainable Development Commission
09.25amWhat should a policy framework for sustainable land use look like?Prof Chris Pollock CBE, Aberystwyth University and Chair, Advisory Committee on Releases to the EnvironmentNCI-pptIcon
09.45amBalancing options for rural land use: Sociological perspectivesProf Philip Lowe OBE, Director, Rural Economy and Land Use programme of the UK Research CouncilsNCI-pptIcon
10.05amWhose land is it anyway? The importance of property rights and the market to the delivery of ecosystem services.Prof Michael Winter OBE, Director, Centre for Rural Policy and Policy Research, and Professor of Rural Policy at Exeter UniversityNCI-pptIcon
10.25amPanel discussion and Q&A
10.40amCoffee break
11.00amFacilitated breakout groups to discuss issues and develop recommendations
12.30pmReport back from breakout groups
12.55pmClosing remarksProf Rosie Hails MBE, Chair, Natural Capital Initiative