Land and Water

What is our rural land for and what do we expect from it?  Should farmers be diversifying into energy crops or concentrating on feeding the nation?  And is it reasonable to expect them to be competitive food businesses as well as managers and guardians of wildlife and landscapes?    When floods overwhelm urban areas should that just be a problem for the individuals and businesses affected?  Or should country dwellers be prepared to sacrifice rural land for flood storage?

There is increasing controversy and competing demands on land and water, as well as threats from flooding and run-off from farming, plus the implications of policies such as the CAP and European Water Framework Directive.  Relu research projects are providing relevant findings to feed into such a debate and two land use policy analysts have also been looking across the projects and drawing out implications for future policy.

Water is constantly in the news, whether through concern about a lack of it, or because of the effects of too much.  European legislation, such as the Water Framework Directive aims to improve water quality but will have profound implication for land managers throughout the UK.  The British Government is considering whether rural land should be sacrificed to save urban areas from inundation and how the effects of flooding on communities could be mitigated.   Relu research is investigating all these aspects of an element that is fundamental to everyone’s life.