Centre for Rural Economy

Adrienne Attorp

Adrienne Attorp

Control of diffuse agricultural pollution and management of trans-boundary waterways: A comparative analysis of the policy making process in Ireland and Northern Ireland

Email: a.a.attorp2@newcastle.ac.uk

Supervisors: Dr Ruth McAreavey, Dr Erin Sherry (AFBI), Trevor Donnellan (Teagasc) and Prof Sally Shortall

Project overview

Brexit is likely to trigger significant changes in the agri-food sector between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain. This may have a disproportionate impact on the island of Ireland due to its highly integrated agri-food sector and shared ecosystems. Resultant challenges, if not properly addressed, have the potential to negatively impact current provision of ecosystem services in agriculture, and undermine the overall sustainability of the industry.  

Many of the island’s ecosystems are transboundary in nature, including numerous waterways.  New regulatory regimes may result in different standards across a single water catchment area; changes to the management of a catchment in Northern Ireland can exhibit positive or negative externalities in Ireland, and vice versa.  One of the challenges for policy makers and farmers alike will be to determine how to weather upheavals in agri-environmental policy, practice and trade so that farmers on both sides of the border can collaboratively continue to thrive while sustaining and improving existing land and waterway management practices. 

This project considers the potential impact of diverging agri-environmental policy on agricultural land use and trans-boundary waterway management on the island of Ireland.  Using a range of qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups and case studies), I am investigating the various factors that affect farmers’ land use and waterway management practices in specific trans-boundary water catchment areas in the region, and to what degree these factors are considered in the policymaking process.

For more information, you can watch a short video about my research here: