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					Research on Rural Resource Management
 and the Rural Economy: Addressing the
      Local and Regional Dimension
         Royal Society of Edinburgh
               16 May 2007
Rural Economy and Land Use Programme
     Promoting interdisciplinary research to advance
understanding of the social , economic, environmental and
 technological challenges that the countryside faces today
        What’s new about RELU?
    It’s where the social and natural sciences
              speak the same language

 RELU brings together 65 projects, 360 researchers and over 40
  disciplines

 The Economic and Social Research Council, Biotechnology
  and Biological Sciences Research Council and Natural
  Environment Research Council plus Defra and SEERAD have
  collaborated to provide a £25 million budget, 2004-2010

 RELU is building interdisciplinary research capacity for the
  future
          Why do we need RELU?
This is a time of radical change for rural areas.
Key public challenges include:

    Restoring trust in food chains
    Tackling animal disease in a socially acceptable manner
    Sustaining agriculture in a liberalised economy
    Promoting robust rural economies
    Mitigating threats from climate change and invasive species
    Reducing stress on water catchments
      What is the countryside for?

 There are new and emerging demands on land

 The public function of agriculture and land management
  is changing

 Urban pressures on the countryside are growing

 Climate change cannot be ignored
 Strategic Land Use – the Challenges
There seems a need to rethink our approach to land use planning and policy.
National land use faces the following challenges:
 adjusting to, and where possible mitigating, climate change and its
  complex consequences and threats (drought, flooding, invasive
  species/diseases)
 accommodating population growth and new housing
 facilitating strong and nationally balanced economic growth
 promotion of patterns of sustainable living for households, communities
  and regions
 protecting critical natural resources and ecological capacities.
To meet these challenges requires that land use planning is both flexible, to
allow people and businesses to adjust to perhaps major and short-term
environmental change, and strategic, to ensure that the long-term public good
Is pursued.
 Strategic Land Use – the Opportunities
Significant opportunities present themselves in responding to these challenges.
 a change in the zeitgeist relating to global environmental change, including a
  widespread willingness to change outlooks and personal behaviour, and
  support for strategic action
 positive indications of environmental improvement in certain sectors e.g.
  biodiversity
 CAP reform which is releasing (human, financial and land) resources from
  intensive agriculture, and making them available for other uses
 the potential (the as yet to be realised promise) of Defra and SEERAD to
  combine different instruments and means (designated areas, agri-
  environment payments, catchment management, national park plans,
  biodiversity action plans, regional rural delivery framework, the Scottish
  Rural Development Plan, Natural England, Environment Agency), including
  their sponsorship of the land management sector, for strategic
  environmental planning.
    Strategic Land Use – Critical Needs

Land use policy within Defra seems to suffer from the inverse problem of other
fields where strategies are drawn up but too often resources fail to flow. Here
there are many resources but an absence of a coherent national strategy.
Critical needs include:

 a long term strategic vision for land use (particularly for undeveloped land)
 developing environmental planning as a counterpart to the strong tradition of
  spatial planning
 means to orchestrate the management of rural land use to achieve public
  goods (particularly informed by research on ecosystem services)
 good strategic research
   How does RELU research relate to policy?
        Partnership Working/Governance
            Local Economy/Employment
                             Biodiversity
        Environmentally Friendly Farming
          Healthy Food/Public Protection
                 Water Quality/ Pollution
               Local Food Supply Chains
                Landscape Conservation
      Countryside Access/ Disadvantage
Soil Conservations/ Carbon Sequestration
            Greenhouse Gas Emissions
                     Flood Management
                    Farm Diversification
Removable Energy Generation/Recycling
                Multi-Functional Forestry
                         Animal Welfare

                                            0   5   10          15    20   25
                                                    No. of Projects
   Science isn’t just for scientists
What kind of science do we need today?
    Joined-up science
    Socially accountable science


How does RELU fulfil this need?
    It cuts across disciplinary boundaries to tackle challenges
    It involves stakeholders at every stage
   What do we want to achieve today?
 To bring RELU research to you – the rural policy,
  planning and research staff in local and regional
  government and public agencies and practitioners in the
  private and voluntary sectors

 To explore the implications of the research for your work
  at local and regional level

 To invite you to take part in the RELU Visiting
  Fellowship scheme
   Why sign up to be a Visiting Fellow?
 It’s a unique opportunity to visit a RELU research team or
  cluster of teams
 You will find out more about the implications of the research for
  your work
 You will have the opportunity to influence the research and
  make it more relevant to you and your colleagues
 You may want to arrange a return match – the RELU Work
  Shadowing Scheme enables researchers to visit the contexts
  where their research will be used
 Both schemes aim to produce dissemination activities and
  materials tailored to your specific needs

				
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