Future Challenges and Rural Policy - Janet Dwyer (CCRI)


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Janet Dwyer, Director of CCRI, discusses challenges facing the future of rural policy development and the role of the CCRI.

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Future Challenges and Rural Policy - Janet Dwyer (CCRI)

  1. 1. Future challenges, rural policy? Janet Dwyer CCRI Director
  2. 2. • Increasing fossil fuel prices – higher global demand, lower / more costly / less secure supplies • Growing global food demand: higher prices • Climate change - pressures north and south from temperature and rainfall shifts • Demographic change – shrinking workforce, pressure from migration • Slow growth, tight public finances – reduced funding for land and people? Context: Europe’s rural areas face significant challenges
  3. 3. Food Biodiversity Habitats Economic Viability Climate Change Resource- management Bioeenergy Biomass Supply Chain Integration EC Challenges and Opportunities (courtesy Martin Scheele, DG Agri)
  4. 4. The multifunctionality of rural land must be maintained and increased: embracing energy generation and non-food products, sustained use for leisure, and food production (these demands will not diminish, but grow) Ecosystem services require better long-term planning and broader spatial co-ordination (e.g. flooding, green infrastructure, carrying capacity)
  5. 5. Implications for rural areas Agriculture, forestry and the food sector must become much more resource-efficient: – using fewer non-renewable inputs, – conserving carbon, soil and water, – reducing or eliminating wastes
  6. 6. Rural communities will face reduced central support, but enhanced information - Eroding transport options - Increased scope for distance learning and exchange of ideas - Continuing challenges from ageing: capacity to cope - ‘Renewal’ via in-migration (potential social, environmental and economic gains)
  7. 7. Considering future links - Cotswolds example 4 degree temperature increase - Longer season, faster crop growth, higher/drier yields Grow more arable (wheat, rape) Switch to more southern / high- value crops Increase in pests and diseases decreased summer rain, more winter storms/floods Up to 10m sea level rise, Severn Switch to more resilient (drought tolerant, robust over winter) crops Pressure for more residential development, infrastructure, industry? Glos, Chelt, Stroud flooding Hedge and wall degradation (reduced need for boundaries) Grazing stock relatively more difficult/low return? Need for renewable energy Grow and harvest more trees – SRC, woods Changes in physical structure, more mixed cover, more man-made elements, more intensity of use, more variety of colours
  8. 8. Policy: successes & messes • Strong local/regional actors and networks borne of the many ‘partnerships’ in recent years, in some areas • Buoyant rural economic activity in many areas BUT • Many disconnected schemes and initiatives acting in different ways – SPS + pillar 2 + NIAs + PES; RDPE central versus LEPs and LAGs; laissez-faire approach to market concentration in business and services, looser planning for housing, weak transport …  The mix is complex: is this promoting resilience at a local level?
  9. 9. Reflections: policy needs • We need smarter policies which acknowledge multiple goals, and use integrated planning & delivery - join up environment, people, food and economy, think longer-term and provide consistent policy signals / reduce risk • We need to reduce the weight of controls and bureaucracy – make policies closer to the beneficiary, more flexible, learn from on-the-ground experience • We need to be tracking the Piketty effect – what scope for reducing inequalities? • We need to incentivise experimentation - learning, doing things differently, building confidence to act, sharing experience • Global awareness and exchange is needed, too
  10. 10. The role of policy: enabling “a supportive and responsive government is required at a UK, devolved and local level. Action on all these levels is needed to: address regional level inequalities; build capacity in local communities; and mitigate against any unintended consequences of macro level policies at a local level.” Carnegie Trust, 2012 - This was written about rural communities; but the same might equally be said about future policies for land, food and farming
  11. 11. Reflections: the role of research • Learning by doing: CCRI is experimenting with integrated local planning & delivery, communities of learning, fuelling dialogue – Emphasis on resilience planning – in top-down and bottom-up structures, social, economic and environmental – The climate will continue to surprise us: need to work with natural science, uncertainties (soils, water) – Visioning the future: a key area for GIS and social media • Ideas: Towards new theories of governance – From transaction costs to benefits: managing/cutting bureaucracy, building inter-institutional trust – From cost-benefit to social returns, to well-being – Polycentric but more transparent – new media and new models
  12. 12. Where is the rural, and are we its champions?