Land Use Conference

Rewarding the Delivery of Public Goods: How to Achieve this in Practice?

McCracken peat pan restoration28-29 November 2018

Offers are being invited for platform presentations and posters under the following provisional themes:

  1. What type of environmental public goods should be prioritised for delivery by land managers in the future?
  2. How can land managers be encouraged and helped to deliver those public goods effectively?
  3. What mechanisms are available for rewarding land managers for the provision of public goods?

A fourth session will consist of a panel-debate on what changes in policy or governance are required to reward land managers for the delivery of environmental public goods in a cost-effective and transparent way.

If you wish to submit an abstract for a platform presentation, please contact Abstracts and poster titles to be submitted by 15 June 2018.

Click to download Guidelines for Preparation of Abstracts.


There is still a lot of water to flow under the bridge before the scale and shape of future public funding to land managers becomes clearer. But with Brexit rapidly approaching – and with each new model of theoretical scenarios suggesting that major changes to current support levels are inevitable – then one major topic of debate revolves around the suggestion that future support for land management should only be targeted at the provision of public goods.

However, it is important to remember that most – if not all - of the questions being asked about how best to use public funding to obtain public goods have been around for a long time. What Brexit has done is to bring those questions more to the forefront of a much greater number of people’s minds. In particular, it is now being recognised that any funding that goes to land managers in the future is going to have to be argued for - and justified - against other calls on public funding such as health and education.

In order to make such arguments it will be important that the public goods being delivered can be assessed in a cost-effective and transparent way. That then begs a number of questions:

  • What type of environmental public goods should be rewarded in the future? Many public goods can be listed as potentially arising from any one management unit but not all can be assigned down to an individual management unit - as opposed to wider catchment – level;
  • What impact will the targeting of those public goods have on future land use? Prioritising public good delivery will only be effective if land managers are willing to deliver those goods. Ensuring this requires greater knowledge about what motivates land managers to change management practices, e.g. why do they implement certain measures and not others?
  • What range of mechanism are available for rewarding land managers for the provision of public goods?  Paying for most public goods will require decisions to be made about how robust an assessment mechanism is acceptable. Most will involve some level of estimate of the degree of delivery at the management unit level, raising the question as to what level of variation in those estimates are acceptable to base payments upon?

Although Brexit is a huge challenge it is also a huge opportunity to develop something different with regard to the effective delivery of environmental public goods in the future. This conference will seek to help inform and shape the debate about how best to reward farmers, foresters and other land managers for delivering public goods from their land management practices. In particular it will provide a forum to help develop thinking of practical implementation on the ground and what that means for policy development.

If you have not participated in previous Land Use & The Environment conferences and wish to join the mailing list please contact

Please circulate this announcement within your networks to others who may wish to attend. International participants are also welcome.


For further details please contact:

Karen McCracken
SRUC: Scotland’s Rural College
J F Niven Building

Tel: 0044 (0)1292 525 282

Karen McCracken

Address: Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), J F Niven Building, Auchincruive, Ayr KA6 5HW

Telephone: 01292 525282

Fax: 01292 525333