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Policy projects

Living Landscapes

Flying drone above the wheat field

Now is an important moment for the future of the UK countryside. Changes to the UK’s relationship with the EU mean changes to agricultural and environmental policy. Drawing together the latest scientific evidence will allow the UK to manage this change well.

The Royal Society’s Living Landscapes policy programme aims to inform a long-term vision for how the UK manages its land, in a way that combines agricultural productivity with sound environmental stewardship.

We will explore what science and technology have to contribute, what peoples' priorities for the land are, and the considerations required for a land use transition.

There is an important need for dialogue between scientists, policy-makers, land managers, farmers, industry, researchers and the wider public in order to move towards a future model for land use which is resilient, sustainable and equitable for all.

The Society’s Living Landscapes programme comprises a number of elements:

  • We are producing a series of evidence syntheses reports to summarise areas of new or uncertain science. Topics covered so far include ammonia emissions, microplastics and soil and soil structure.
  • We worked with Ipsos MORI to run a public dialogue in four UK regions to understand people’s priorities for future rural land use.
  • We have commissioned a review of the history and current arrangements for rural land use decision-making in the UK.
  • We will bring all of these elements together, along with an exploration of the latest science and technology, through a holistic exploration of multifunctional landscapes. The findings of this will be summarised in a report including a set of policy recommendations to be published in 2022.

Living Landscapes is chaired by Charles Godfray FRS. For more information on the programme, please contact the Living Landscapes team.

Other work on this topic

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