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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jeremy Robert Franks
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This paper assesses the potential of environmental co-operatives (EC) to deliver environmental benefits and an integrated and strengthened rural economy in the UK. It is based on research into Dutch EC, which have about 10,000 members, of which a quarter are non-farmers. The paper details the benefits EC have delivered to their members, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, the environment and the rural economy using evidence drawn from interviews with farmer and non-farmer members, farmer non-members, policy makers and academics connected with seven EC. It pays particular attention to the benefits and disadvantages of allowing non-farmer membership. It is argued that EC would be a valuable additional instrument to help deliver landscape-scale environmental, regional and rural policy objectives. However, Dutch EC have received important political and, particularly in their start-up stage, financial support, and similar support would be needed in the UK-it is argued this may be more readily available if UK EC will offer non-farmer membership. Appropriate support could be provided through developments to the Environmental Stewardship Scheme's higher level tier, by safeguarding and extending the spirit of the LEADER plus programme (which explicitly supports collective action) to the delivery of environmental benefits, and/or by encouraging the development of locally based social enterprises. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Author(s): Franks JR, Mc Gloin A
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Rural Studies
ISSN (print): 0743-0167
ISSN (electronic): 1873-1392
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