Land underpins the whole UK economy, from the provision of food to space for housing, business, transport, tourism and recreation. There are many challenges facing the future of landscapes and ecosystems in the UK, such as those posed by climate change, population increase and economic growth in the context of limited land and natural resources.
Scottish National Heritage (SNH), Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and Government Office for the East of England (GO-East), with the support of Sciencewise, commissioned a public dialogue which sought to explore public attitudes and values towards the benefits and trade-offs of landscape change. The dialogue ran between May 2010 and June 2011.
The process consisted of three public dialogue pilot projects in Scotland, Wales and the East of England. A total of 188 members of the public took part in this 14-month project.
The dialogue delivery contractors were: Land Use Consultants in Scotland; Resource of Change in Wales; and Lea Valley Regional Park in the East of England. Natural Capital Initiative (NCI) worked to draw out lessons from the public dialogues as they occurred, whilst the project was independently evaluated by the Icarus Collective.
As part of an ecosystems approach (EsA), the public dialogues have been used to inform the development of future participatory techniques to support planning for the future of landscapes in the UK.