AESC30080 Agri-Environmental Issues and Policy

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module provides an overview of the potential impacts of agricultural practices on the wider environment and agri-environmental policy responses towards the mitigation of such impacts at both national and EU level. Important environmental issues in agriculture and related land uses are discussed from the perspective of the protection of natural resources (air, water and soil quality), biodiversity, and natural and cultural heritage. A major aim of the module is to develop both an understanding of the major environmental issues driven by agriculture and the responses of policy makers to address these issues.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
- Describe major environmental issues and requirements for the development of sustainable agriculture.
- Identify the impacts that modern farming systems can have on the environment.
- Understand the aims and measures of the various policies and schemes to control or limit such impacts.
- Understand the basic principles necessary for the appropriate management and protection of the agri-environment and the quality of its air, soil and water resources, including the basic principles of: good farming practice, nutrient management and planning, habitat management.

Indicative Module Content:

The module provides a basic understanding of legislative controls and agri-environmental incentive schemes operated at national (Irish) and EU levels. This includes the operation and implementation of major EU environmental directives, environmental aspects of Cross Compliance (Single Payment Scheme), agri-environmental incentive schemes (GLAS), as well as results-based, locally-led and related high-nature value schemes including the Results-based Environmental Agri-Pilot (REAP) scheme.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching and learning in this module are based on lectures, delivered by different UCD academics with specific expertise, complemented by guest lectures by outside experts from the agri-food industry and agriculture/environment state departments.
Seminars with smaller student groups in Active Learning Environments (ALE) are used for active and group-based learning. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: A creative assignment. Each student researches, creates and presents a mini-documentary, animation, slide show, poster, policy brief or similar multi-media piece on a specific topic of their choice. Week 12 n/a Graded No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: An in-class test in the form of an MCQ testing knowledge, understanding and interpretation of content covered in this module. Week 10 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Group/class feedback on the in-class assessment component will be given in a lecture. Frequent errors/problem questions/unanswered questions will be discussed.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Helen Sheridan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer