In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has adopted an ecosystems approach to guide policy development, with a particular focus on ensuring that the value of ecosystem services is fully reflected in policy and decision-making. In line with this, the Countryside Council for Wales commissioned a dialogue project on behalf of the Cambrian Mountains Initiative which considered the views and perceptions of farmers, other stakeholders, and the general public on payment for ecosystem services.
That first dialogue project sought to engage a range of community and land management stakeholders around ecosystem futures in the East of the England, Scotland and the Cambrian Mountains in Wales. Catrin Ellis Associates and Land Use Consultants delivered the project.
Six community focus groups were held in the Cambrian Mountains and in Monmouth and Shrewsbury, with two events specifically for farmers and graziers. A final workshop was held with expert stakeholders from organisations including the Welsh Government, Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales, farming trade unions and the National Trust.
The Welsh Government acknowledges that the project informed thinking on the Environment (Wales) Bill, with the Act coming into force in 2016. The White Paper on the Bill identified innovative approaches that could be used as opportunities to deliver integrated natural resource management.
This dialogue was delivered by Land Use Consultants and Catrin Ellis Associates. It was evaluated by Icarus.