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 Alex Inman

Alex Inman

Senior Research Fellow (LEEP)


+44 (0)1392 723340

Lazenby House, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4PJ

After completing an undergraduate degree in Social and Economic History at Liverpool University in 1992, I spent much of my early working life as a quantitative and qualitative researcher at the NOP Research Group in London, a company specialising in analysing consumer and business behaviour trends.  In 1999, I returned to full-time education to complete an MSc in Rural Resources and Environmental Policy at Imperial College London, having decided to pursue a career in Natural Resource Management.  Between 2001 and 2006, I held the position of Director of Policy at the Westcountry Rivers Trust, an organisation focussed on working with businesses, primarily farmers and water companies, to protect water courses from pollution.  Since 2006, I have operated as a freelance consultant, splitting my time between applied water resources and land management and academic research to support the development of sustainable natural resource use policies.

I am a social scientist with a particular research interest in how social systems, economic mechanisms and governance arrangements influence the management of natural resources, particularly land and water.  During my career, I have had the opportunity to work with a broad variety of organisations from the public, private and NGO sectors including Defra, The Environment Agency, Natural England, Wessex Water, WWF, IUCN, The Rivers Trust, East Devon District Council, CPRE, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.  An area of work I greatly enjoy is implementing technology transfer through the on-the-ground application of scientific research.  In addition to my research interests, I am a Gold Star SFEDI accredited rural business advisor specialising in sustainable land management with over 12 years experience working with farmers and farmer groups across the UK.  I also have experience as a facilitator within the context of high tension resource management issues, having recently chaired meetings in the badger cull pilot areas to clarify matters surrounding scientific uncertainty and cull logistics.

Research interests

The scope of my research is largely applied in nature to support the development of sustainable natural resource management policies.  

Research projects

  • Rural Environment and Land Use (RELU) study - a choice modelling exercise to identify farmer WTP (WTA) for delivering multiple ecosystem services from multi generational land management agreements
  • Rural Environment and Land Use (RELU) study - an assessment of the (short-term and long-term) viability of various funding streams to finance land use and management change programmes capable of protecting soil and water resources; including carbon offsetting schemes, charges raised via the Planning System (e.g CIL/Section 106 Agreements), biodiversity offsetting schemes, Landfill Tax Funds, Visitor Payback Schemes and Flood Defence expenditure made by the Environment Agency and Local Authorities
  • Qualitative research with potential peatland carbon investors (client – IUCN Peatland Carbon Programme) - this exercise involved a series of in-depth interviews with CSR Directors from UK based Corporations to assess their attitudes towards investing in Peatland Carbon Code accredited carbon sequestration projects.  This research is quoted on pp19 of Defra’s recent Ecosystem Markets Task Force report.  See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-final-report-of-the-ecosystem-markets-task-force
  • Synthesis of food related consumer behaviours - this desk research review provided up-to-date policy relevant evidence on consumer behaviours and attitudes towards food purchasing and consumption in the UK.  The research synthesised evidence on consumer attitudes; behaviours and trends; behavioural determinants; and influencers, intermediaries and interventions.   The project was jointly commissioned by Defra’s Environmental Behaviours Unit, Communications Directorate and The Food Chain Programme
  • Consumer survey to provide insight into attitudes towards food prices and food security - the overall aim of this project was to assess consumer understanding of, and reactions to, changing food prices and food security and to examine the feasibility of developing potential indicators of consumer confidence in the food system.  Involved the design, implementation and analysis of 1000 interviews.  The project was commissioned by Defra’s Food Policy Unit
  • Rural Environment and Land Use (RELU) study - a project to develop a 'catchment management template' providing guidance on the necessary steps to achieve improvements in ecosystem management at the catchment scale, the governance arrangements that will be necessary for this, and a 'tool kit' of techniques for scientific research and for organisational and institutional development
  • Local Food Webs Project - development of a user-friendly environmental impact assessment methodology to enable local food groups to identify the benefits and disbenefits of local food chains.  Part of a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and The Plunkett Foundation designed to empower communities to connect land and people through food
  • Social Science of Encouraging Water Efficiency - a research programme to pilot and systematically measure the efficacy of various approaches to encouraging efficient use of water in the home.  The project was funded and sponsored by the Environment Agency and the Consumer Council for Water
  • Skills Review of the South West Environmental Technology Sector (client - Exeter University) - a qualitative and quantitative study to assess the skills requirements of employers within Environmental Technology businesses in the South West
  • Survey to quantify the volume and types of waste arisings from land based businesses across the UK (client - Environment Agency and DEFRA) - a large-scale quantitative survey (involving 380 farmers) to assess levels and types of non-natural waste streams (e.g plastics, metals).  The data provided guidance for developing a policy to extend the EU Controlled Waste regulations into the land based sector
  • Survey of Fly-tipping on Agricultural Land in England and Wales - a large-scale quantitative telephone survey to measure the incidence, geographical scope and nature of fly-tipping events in England and Wales.  Data used by the national Fly-tipping Stakeholders Forum (inc. DEFRA and the Environment Agency) to help develop policy instruments to deal with the fly-tipping problem
  • A DEFRA Sustainability Challenge Fund project - a project designed to assess the cost/benefits of various ‘soft’ approaches to bringing about reductions in water usage in residential dwellings.  Involved design and implementation of primary survey research with householder samples, working with two UK water companies to analyse different communications approaches
  • Waste management survey of small-scale food processing business (client – DEFRA) - a large scale quantitative survey of SME businesses within the Food and Drink sector to determine types of waste arisings, methods used to manage wastes and attitudes towards potential waste reduction  approaches.  Data used by DEFRA to help target SME waste reduction R&D programme
  • Currently a core project team member in a 3 year China-UK research programme funded by China-UK Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Network (SAIN) – Project title: ‘Knowledge, policy and practice for sustainable nutrient management and water resources protection in UK and Chinese agro-ecosystems’

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category

Journal articles

Winter DM, Inman A, Wheeler R, Vrain E, Lovett A, Collins A, Jones I, Johnes P, Cleasby W (2017). An exploration of individual, social and material factors influencing water pollution mitigation behaviours within the farming community. Land Use Policy Full text.

Publications by year


Winter DM, Inman A, Wheeler R, Vrain E, Lovett A, Collins A, Jones I, Johnes P, Cleasby W (2017). An exploration of individual, social and material factors influencing water pollution mitigation behaviours within the farming community. Land Use Policy Full text.