Europe’s rural land faces many competing demands for the provision of food, energy and timber, as well as environmental and cultural services. There is scarcely any true wilderness left in the EU, so the ways in which land is managed affects the quality of the environment as well as the character and social fabric of much of rural Europe.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) continues to be a major driver of land use and management decisions. Other sectoral policies, such as those promoting renewable energy, protecting biodiversity and regulating water quality and usage have an important influence too.
IEEP seeks to inform and influence the development of the key EU policies that affect the sustainable use of rural land and to encourage the integration of environmental priorities into these policies. We provide independent policy research, analysis and advice focussing on ways in which farming and forestry can help to protect Europe’s natural resources and the wide range of environmental goods and services which they support.
A contentious issue in the negotiations on the future of the CAP is how to implement the proposed new green direct payments to farmers. However, proposals to increase flexibility for Member States will not necessarily be administratively any simpler and may risk weakening environmental outcomes.
Up to 2020 greater use of renewable electricity is the leading alternative to biofuels to reduce the carbon intensity of car and rail transport fuels. To realise this potential requires a mix of responses, including: increasing the decarbonisation of existing transport fuels; improving the energy efficiency of vehicles; and changing the way vehicles are used.
What will the introduction of environmental measures in Pillar 1 mean for agri-environment schemes in the future? A topic of much debate as part of the CAP reform negotiations, this new report explores the potential impacts of greening Pillar 1 on England’s entry-level agri-environment scheme and how a future scheme could be designed to deliver more for the environment and ensure the long term sustainability of farming.
This new IEEP-authored report highlighting the importance of nature to the economy aims to clarify and help mainstream nature’s role in the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
The Commission has finally taken half a step towards addressing the indirect land use change (ILUC) from biofuels. David Baldock, Director of IEEP, said, ‘it is very dispiriting to see that after such a long internal debate, the Commission has backed down in the face of intense pressure from the biofuel and farming industry. As a result, a hard fought agreement has been compromised.’
The European Commission's draft proposal for a Directive on the indirect land use change (ILUC) from biofuels was leaked to the public in mid-September 2012. This briefing summarises and reacts to these leaked proposals.
This policy paper examines how the forthcoming 7EAP can contribute to protecting natural systems and improving the way in which we use natural resources. It also examines a number of cross-cutting actions needed to support the priorities of the 7EAP and ensure better delivery of EU environment policy.
Substantial changes to rural development regulation have been proposed which provide significant opportunities for Member States to deliver more for the environment. This report highlights some of these opportunities and sets out a series of principles and environmental priorities to help guide Member States in designing their future rural development programmes.
Biochar has the potential to both mitigate greenhouse gases, and to act as an adaptation measure in terms of responding to the impacts of climate change. Based on its compatibility with the appropriate soil properties, it could increase the resilience of soil to erosion.