Quantifying the landscape benefits arising from the Rural Environment Protection Scheme: results from a public survey
This paper presents the main results from a sample survey of the adult population designed to measure how much they would pay for the Rural Environment Protection (REP) Scheme’s contribution to rural landscapes. The paper also reports the findings from a number of questions that were included within the survey to determine the public’s attitudes towards the rural environment, farmers and the countryside in general. Findings from these attitudinal questions reveal that there is a wide range in public opinion regarding changes in the state of the rural environment, the role of farmers as custodians of the rural environment and the relative priority of Government spending on the REP Scheme. Within the sample survey, two choice experiments estimated the magnitude of landscape benefits stemming from the REP Scheme. Results from the choice experiments indicate that the landscape improvements are highly valued by the Irish public. Conservative estimates indicate that the value put on landscape benefits of the REP scheme alone amount to almost the entire cost of the Scheme.
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