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How changes in land use can affect our social welfare highlighted by Aberdeen experts

The various ways in which changes to EU policies affecting land use could significantly impact on society will be highlighted by Aberdeen experts at a key international conference next week.

From unemployment figures and effects on health, to climate change and landscape quality, academics from the University of Aberdeen will deliver their findings into how amendments to current EU policies could play a major role in shaping the overall welfare and sustainability of society. 

The team of experts from the University's Institute for Rural Research have undertaken the study as part an EU initiative entitled 'SENSOR' - a four year project, which has brought together teams of researchers from 36 institutes in 15 European countries, as well as China, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

The project is designed to provide EU policy makers with a set of tools to better understand the environmental, social and economic effects of multifunctional land use in European regions.

Representatives from the Institute for Rural Research, University of Aberdeen will be amongst the academics involved in the project delivering their latest findings at the SENSOR cluster meeting in Switzerland next week (22 - 24 September).

Results of an assessment tool which has been jointly created by the University and international partner organisations will be demonstrated at the event.  The tool will allow EU policy makers to review the far reaching consequences of any change in regulation.

Professor John Farrington Director of the Institute for Rural Research, who is leading the Aberdeen team said: "When a change in policy affecting land use is made at EU level, there is a knock on effect which is felt socially, economically and environmentally.  However, until now it has been impossible for decision makers to predict the wider felt consequences of any amendment or addition to their regulations. 

"The aim of the SENSOR initiative is to provide Sustainability Impact Assessment Tools ('SIAT'), a crucial set of systems which will allow EU officials to best assess how new policies on the six main areas of land use sectors -  agriculture, forestry, nature conservation, transport infrastructure, energy and tourism - could dramatically impact on how we live.

"For example, if a particular area of land is used to support the growth of biofuels rather than food this has an immediate impact on land use but also employment and downstream activities.

"The assessment tool which we have created means the outcomes of policy changes can be scientifically measured and analysed before that change is actually accepted.  This allows policy makers to clearly understand the full spectrum of consequences and make an informed decision."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Thursday 18th of September 2008

Ref: 260sensor
Contact: Kelly Cromar

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