New research project to assess long-term governance implications of Brexit on the agri-environment

News | Posted on Wednesday 19 December 2018

Professor Sue Hartley, Director of York’s Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI), will be exploring agri-environmental governance post-Brexit in collaboration with the Universities of Sheffield and East Anglia, in a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

70% of the land area of the UK is used for agriculture and the UK’s decision to leave the European Union represents the most significant change in the governance of this land since we joined the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 1973.

In order to achieve the UK government's vision of a 'Green Brexit', and the ambitions in the 25 year environment plan, a new Environmental Land Management scheme is being devised. Payments under this new plan to farmers will be based upon the principle of 'public money for public goods,' – such as enhanced biodiversity and improved soil, water and air quality.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has stated that the post-Brexit farmers system will be developed in collaboration with stakeholders.

To support this, the project will work with Defra and other key stakeholders to create and test a model for ‘co-producing’ the new scheme. This will help identify ways to collaboratively involve those most affected by policy changes at all stages of the process.

Prof. Sue Hartley, who will be responsible for co-organising and running stakeholder workshops for the project, said: “Brexit offers an opportunity to develop new agricultural policies and strategies which advance the UK's priorities for protecting our natural environment.

It is essential that we involve stakeholders at every stage to ensure we design policies and payments that effectively use public money to deliver enhanced ecosystem services.

This type of co-production framework will be translatable to all policymaking areas across Government and Devolved Administrations where collaborative and active democratisation of public policy is a central element.”