A comparative study of agriculture and rural conservation policies in the U.K. and France

  • Janet Dwyer

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study aims firstly to classify and discuss the conservation of rural resources in the UK. It explores what is meant by conservation values, and how these can usefully complement the monetary valuation of rural resources in policy-making. Discussion focuses particularly upon farming and conservation policy.

Secondly, the study seeks to clarify the underlying relationships between rural change and the structure and implementation of rural policies, to identify ways in which the formulation and organisation of the policy-mix influences the achievement of conservation and agricultural policy objectives. It centres upon a comparative case-study of a National Park in Britain and a Regional Park in France: two areas with similar socio-economic and natural characteristics, designated with similar conservation objectives but quite different conservation and agricultural policy structures.

Each area's environment is described through analysis of recent agricultural, demographic and land-use change. Policy effects upon this environment are elucidated by group discussions with farmers and community leaders and extended interviews with policy administrators. The relative effectiveness of different policy tools and structures in these contexts is discussed.

Finally, the case-study is related to wider rural policy, in that these Parks serve as contrasting models of means to integrate agricultural and rural conservation policies. In particular, they demonstrate the importance of patterns of implementation and administration of the rural policy-mix, to enable multiple objectives to be well-co-ordinated and practical. The balanced use of policy tools to outline clear administrative responsibilities whilst providing sufficient enabling means, to administrators and to the private sector, is crucial. In the specific context of public influence over private land, sympathetic policy perception by all affected parties and an understanding of local landowners' and managers' objectives and needs emerge as issues deserving more attention from policy-makers from the earliest stages in policy design. A greater decentralisation of agricultural policy, both within government and producer marketing agencies, and greater co-operation in policy design between rural socio-economic and rural conservation bodies are advocated.
Date of Award1991
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorDavid Bateman (Supervisor)

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