This is a mixed method data collection. The study is part of the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme. Data from previous research, carried out by the research team in the 1980s and revisited through the current research, have been included in this data collection.
Agricultural Flood Defence Schemes in floodplain and coastal areas were once an important element of Government support for farmers in Britain. More recently, however, changing priorities in the countryside, concern about environmental quality and perceptions of increased flood risk in lowland areas, in part linked to climate change, have promoted a re-appraisal of land management options and policies for floodplain areas.
Eight agricultural flood defence schemes, previously studied by the research team in the 1980s, have been re-examined to identify and explain changes in land and water management that have occurred over the last 40-years. This involved stakeholder and institutional analysis, farmer interviews, ecological surveys, field observations and modelling of hydrological and related ecological processes.
Generic land use scenarios have been developed to consider management options that focus on single objectives, such as maximising agricultural production, maximising biodiversity and minimising flood risk in the catchment. The scenarios examined the impacts of changes in rural land use on ecosystem goods and services. The influence of agricultural policy, interacting with farmer circumstances and motivation, on land use has also been explored. The project also evaluated the impacts of the summer 2007 floods on agriculture and rural communities.