Policy measures for agri-environmental public goods in the United Kingdom

Client: OECD

Cumulus Consultants was commissioned by the OECD to undertake the UK case study for a wider project ‘Public goods and externalities: agri-environmental policy measures in selected OECD countries’.  The case study aims to improve understanding of the best policy measures to provide agri-environmental public goods.


During the four month project, Cumulus collated publicly available data, gathered evidence and undertook analysis and evaluation relating to all four countries of the UK.

The report, launched in 2015, explores new areas from an agri-environment perspective including: does the supply of agri-environmental public goods meet demand; and how are agri-environmental targets and reference levels set.

Findings and recommendations

Key findings for the UK include:

  • Agri-environmental policies target nine agri-environmental public goods.
  • These public goods tend to be co-produced with agricultural/food production activities.
  • There is strong demand for public goods but a mixed picture in terms of supply.
  • Regulation, voluntary schemes and technical assistance are used to achieve priorities.

Key findings for the UK include:

  • A wider range of agri-environment policy measures could be beneficial
  • Keep the costs of providing agri-environmental public goods under review.
  • Monitor and assess the wider potential of Payment for Ecosystem Services schemes

Key benefits

  • Analysed all agri-environmental public goods and policies together (one of the first studies to do so for the UK)
  • Identified gaps in knowledge and evidence in terms of supply and demand
  • Suggested ways to improve the cost-effectiveness of delivery
  • Contributed to agri-environmental policy design


The case study can be accessed here:

Case study image - OECD

What others say

Thanks to Cumulus, our papers were very well received by delegates at the OECD Joint Working Party on Agriculture and the Environment. Thank you very much for your great contribution to the OECD public goods study. It’s been a pleasure working with Cumulus.
Tetsuya Uetake, OECD
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