Agricultural Change and Environment Observatory Programme

The Agricultural Change and Environment Observatory was established to monitor, and where possible anticipate changes in agriculture and at farm level arising from the 2003 CAP reform and other key drivers of agricultural change, and to assess the environmental implications. It achieves this by identifying environmental risks from a changing agriculture sector and to provide an evidence base for informing future policy.  The Observatory aims to identify significant trends and predict changes in farming patterns and practices, assessing their resulting environmental impacts and highlighting any areas of particular concern or success.

The programme also aims to predict and highlight the longer term impacts of farm level changes and assess the implications for the strategic priorities and the delivery of Government objectives. It does this through an integrated programme of monitoring and evaluation, with a strong stakeholder contribution.

The Observatory was formally launched in July 2005, initially as a 3 year programme of work. The likelihood was recognised at the outset that this would be extended, reflecting the extent and ongoing nature of the changes impacting on the agriculture sector and the high level of uncertainty, magnitude and timing of the environmental consequences of these. The Phase 2 Observatory formally started in April 2008.

It is proposed the programme will run for an initial 3 years, with a further option for an additional 2 years.

Defra continues to take this forward in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Find out more about the work:

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You can email the Observatory Programme Team at:

Page last modified: 8 March, 2011
Page published: 18 November, 2005

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