Putting action into biodiversity planning: assessing preferences towards funding
Water companies in England and Wales are responsible for the management of large areas of land. This land is under little pressure for development and is often free from the pollutants associated with conventional agriculture and is therefore a potentially valuable resource for biodiversity conservation. The value of this resource will only be realized if sufficient investment is made in the management of the habitats associated with these sites. This paper reports an exploratory case study based on customers of Southern Water which uses a mixture of questionnaire surveys and focus groups to investigate whether or not consumers are willing to pay higher utility bills to fund such management. In particular, it explores the public's willingness to forgo potential bill reductions in order to fund biodiversity conservation and examines how payment instruments could be designed to maximize and maintain the agreement from consumers. Results suggest that customers are willing to forgo a proportion of a potential bill reduction to pay for biodiversity schemes but are not necessarily willing to face a bill increase for the same public good benefits. Participants in the focus groups suggested that schemes could be made more acceptable to customers by ensuring that the outcomes were both visible and local and that their achievements were well publicized. Similarly, administration of the scheme through a trust fund alleviates some of the concerns of consumers while raising several new ones.
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Volume (Year): 47 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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