The CLA is heartened to see the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has outlined methods demonstrating how UK farming can produce the same amount of food but meet net-zero targets in its recently-published land use report.
The Land Use: Policies for a Net Zero UK report explores a range of options to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, including through nature-based solutions such as tree planting, peatland restoration and low-carbon farming practices. These options all highlight the positive contribution that farmers and landowners can make to tackling climate change and demonstrate that investment in sustainable farming practices is good value for money, with payback of almost two times the costs.
Mark Bridgeman, President of the CLA said: “Overall, we welcome the findings in this report. The CLA contributed heavily to this report, convening a specialist ‘CLA Climate Change Panel’ with some of our members who are leading the way on climate change on their own holdings. It is fantastic to see that many of their points on forestry, bioenergy and low carbon farming practices have been included.
“We are particularly pleased to see that, following the last report, the Committee have significantly lowered their calls for a reduction of cattle and sheep numbers from 46% to 10%. The livestock sector has a big role to play in tackling climate change, but it is important this role is proportionate to its actual impact on global temperatures.
“Carbon sequestration and storage is a big part of the solution to get to net-zero, so it’s also good to see that the CCC has taken on board the CLA’s proposals to make tree planting an attractive option for landowners, encouraging access to multiple funding streams acknowledging both the carbon and non-carbon benefits of new woodland.
“Many of our members are already taking steps to move towards low carbon farming practices and are keen to encourage the rapid adoption of new technologies and innovation. However, while it is important to examine how the regulatory baseline needs to change to support climate change, there needs to be a clear case for change and the wider needs of both farming and nature must be considered. An extension of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, for example, must be evidence based and take into account the varied nature of land management.
“The CCC specifically opted not to look at soil carbon storage. The government has acknowledged in the Agriculture Bill the importance of soil quality and functionality as healthy soils managed well can sequester and store carbon. This is an important part of the wider picture and can’t be ignored when looking at climate change action in the land use sector.”