Edited by David Pearce
Chapter 18: Towards Green Sectoral Accounts for UK Agriculture
Jodi Newcombe, Ece Özdemiroğlu and Giles Atkinson INTRODUCTION1 The main driver for creating environmental accounts is the recognition that the current national accounting system does not reﬂect the full costs and beneﬁts to society of economic activities and therefore, is an inadequate indicator of well-being or true economic progress. Given the primary importance of traditional accounting indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) and net domestic product (NDP) in public policy-making, adjustments of these measures for environmental outcomes of economic activities are a step towards a better understanding of the sustainability (or otherwise) of economic development. Agricultural land occupies most of the landscape in the UK, covering approximately 74 per cent of the total land area (DEFRA e-digest, 2003). As such, agriculture plays a large role in determining the character and quality of the UK environment. Over the centuries agricultural practices have helped to create and manage landscaped and wildlife habitats and continue to contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity in some contexts. On the other hand, agricultural activity has often led to environmental degradation such as through soil erosion and water pollution. Understanding the balance of the sector’s both positive and negative contributions to the environment, and placing these in the wider context of agriculture’s overall contribution to the UK economy and national well-being is a key aim of an adjusted set of accounts. Agriculture in the United Kingdom (DEFRA et al., 2004), published annually, presents a set of accounts for the agricultural sector and contains...
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