Parallel workshop on Green and Blue Services, 1 and 2 October 2008, The Hague.



In a peri-urban landscape, farmers deliver services to society and especially to the nearby urban dwellers. Green and blue services can be defined as the provision of public achievements aimed at the realization of public demands concerning nature, landscape, water management and recreational use (accessibility), that go beyond the obligatory measures, and for which a cost-recovering compensation is given. In the Haaglanden case study, Green and Blue services are described as a strategy to strengthen agriculture in the urban fringe. The strategy is interesting because of the way that it deals with the problem of land ownership in planning: the strategy is directly aimed at the land owners. Furthermore, the governance aspect is interesting: local agri-environment initiatives, developed from below, could offer alternatives to established policy practices and could be a valuable source of inspiration for strategy development.

The PLUREL working paper ‘European Lessons for Green and Blue Services in the Netherlands’ had its follow-up in a parallel workshop (1-2 October 2008) during the PLUREL conference in The Hague. Representatives from Germany, the UK, Portugal, France and The Netherlands spoke about their local agri-environment initiatives, their experiences, why these local initiatives are important and what is needed to make them flourish. Important conclusions were:
• The presented initiatives represented a rich diversity in good and innovative ideas.
• Bottom-up approaches involving the local community (farmers and civilians) have the best chance of success.
• Local agri-environment initiatives are more likely to match with the local circumstances with respect to landscape, biodiversity and farming culture.
• National schemes need to be flexible enough to facilitate local initiatives.
• European, national and regional administrators and officials need to get back into the field, because that is where the work needs to be done to reach policy goals.
• More discursive, legal and financial space is needed to develop diverse, flexible, simple, local, and matching agri-environmental schemes.
• Local initiatives can learn a lot from each other.

This first meeting tasted like more: we would like to learn more about each others initiatives and we are looking for ways to publish a book about them. Also, we aim to enlarge the network with more initiators and policy makers. This still to be developed project will be separate from PLUREL. However, in the Haaglanden case study, the scenario work of 2009 will concern a.o. Green and Blue Services.

Judith Westerink, Alterra


DOWNLOAD working paper on green and blue services>>