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Case study of agri-environmental payments: The United Kingdom

Dobbs, Thomas L and Pretty, Jules (2008) 'Case study of agri-environmental payments: The United Kingdom.' Ecological Economics, 65 (4). pp. 765-775. ISSN 0921-8009

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The Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) program, when launched in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1986, was the first agri-environmental program in the European Union (EU). This program grew to a total of 43 designated ESA schemes in the UK as a whole, 22 of which were in England. A variety of agri-environmental payments programs were created to supplement and complement the ESA schemes in years to follow. The most prominent of these in England was the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS), established in 1991. The CSS was available to farmers outside the ESAs, and like the ESA program, was intended to protect valued landscapes and habitats and to improve public enjoyment of the countryside. By 2003, over 10% of England's agricultural land was enrolled in either ESA or CSS agreements. These voluntary agreements were long-term contracts (usually for 10 years) between the government and farmers to provide environmental services. Several major evaluations of the ESA program and the CSS were conducted over the years, and the results of many of those evaluations and the lessons derived are synthesized and summarized in this article. Both the ESA program and the CSS proved to be generally effective in enrolling many farmers in the entry-level contract tiers, thereby halting or slowing degradation of rural landscape and other environmental features. However, the schemes did not generally offer sufficient economic incentives to attract high levels of enrollment in the intensive farming areas. Also, the schemes were limited in their success in enrolling farmers in higher payment tiers, tiers that required more substantial changes in farming practices. The high crop and livestock-related payments received by farmers under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) contributed to the disincentives to participate, especially in higher tiers. Following the latest (2003) reforms of the EU's CAP, England's ESA program and CSS are being replaced by a new, consolidated package of schemes that draws on lessons learned over the past 15-20 years with these two flagship programs. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Environmentally Sensitive Areas; Countryside Stewardship Scheme; payments for environmental services; agri-environmental programs; stewardship payments; externalities; public goods; Common Agricultural Policy
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2011 09:03
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 12:37

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