Exploring the social benefits of agri-environment schemes in England

Mills, Jane ORCID: 0000-0003-3835-3058 (2012) Exploring the social benefits of agri-environment schemes in England. Journal of Rural Studies, 28 (4). pp. 612-621. doi:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2012.08.001

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Recent decades have seen sustainable development emerging as a core concern of European Union (EU) policy. In order to consider how policies can contribute more positively to the goals of sustainable development, major EU policies must undergo an assessment of their potential economic, environmental and social impacts. Within the agri-environment sector, this is reflected in the increasing requirement for EU Members States to monitor and evaluate the socio-economic as well as the environmental and agricultural impacts of their agri-environment programmes. Whilst some research has looked at the more easily quantifiable economic impacts of agri-environment schemes (AES), there is a paucity of research exploring the social dimensions. In this paper, four areas where social impacts of AES can be assessed are suggested: namely impact on on-farm employment; income security; human capital through skills and training development; and social capital development through extension of knowledge networks and flows. These areas are explored in detail using the results of a survey of Environmental Stewardship schemes in England. The results show that the level of social benefit is differentiated by scheme and farm type. The more demanding Higher Level Stewardship schemes help to develop human capital and increase networks, and dairy farmers in particularly have extended their advisory networks in order to participate in AES. The paper concludes that through the exploration of the social impact of AES it may be possible to identify ways to more closely link social and environmental stewardship objectives and thereby contribute to sustainable agriculture.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: REF2014 Submission. Author Keywords:Agri-environment schemes; Social impact; Social capital; Human capital; Farming communities; Employment KeyWords Plus:STEWARDSHIP SCHEME; LEVEL STEWARDSHIP; FARMING SYSTEMS; FARMERS; CONSERVATION; POLICY; AGRICULTURE; RESISTANCE; NETWORKS; IMPACT
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human geography. Human ecology. Anthropogeography
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2014 13:18
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 21:27
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/462

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