Evaluating the role of environmental quality in the sustainable rural economic development of England
Park, J. R., Stabler, M. J., Jones, P. J., Mortimer, S. R., Tiffin, J. R. and Tranter, R. B. (2009) Evaluating the role of environmental quality in the sustainable rural economic development of England. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 11 (4). pp. 735-750. ISSN 1387-585X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s10668-008-9140-9
The issue of the sustainable development of rural economies in England has recently received considerable attention. This is because many of the poorest areas in the country are rural, often of high environmental quality, but suffering from high unemployment and a lack of services and facilities. The rapid decline in agricultural incomes and in-migration of affluent urban workers since 1990 has exacerbated economic inequality in such areas. A number of factors have the potential to drive rural development and this paper applies, and considers, the feasibility of a method from the USA for combining economic and environmental variables in a regional growth model to examine the hypothesis that environmental quality is an important determinant of sustainable rural development in England. The model output suggests that, although environmental quality does play a role in sustainable rural development in England there are other, more important, factors driving development. These include business and communications infra-structure, the degree and opportunities for commuting and underlying employment prospects. The robustness and limitations of the method for combining economic and environmental variables is discussed in relation to the spatial interrelatedness of Local Authority Districts in England, and conclusions are drawn about areas for refinement and improvement of the method.