Committee for Climate Change’s report on land use: An opportunity for UK farming

February 07, 2020

ADAS (an RSK company) Business Development Director Dr Colin Morgan has told Farmers Guardian that although farmers may be concerned about the results of the Committee for Climate Change’s latest report, Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK, it could actually represent an opportunity for the industry.

The report, published on 29 January 2020, states that the amount of UK land covered by trees must be increased to at least 17%, that 50% of upland peat and 25% of lowland peat should be restored, and that the UK’s consumption of beef, lamb and dairy must be reduced by 20% by 2050. This will all support the UK’s Net Zero Goal.

Although, Colin says, “There are currently no regulations that force farmers to adopt any of the proposed approaches. Farming businesses which get ahead of the curve in responding to this new agenda – including engaging with carbon markets and using knowledge and technology to help get ready for some of these changes – will ultimately have a commercial advantage.”

These advantages could include reaping the commercial benefits of dual land use, making money from selling environmental benefits and utilising less productive land for planting trees that could be sold as a carbon store.

Consumers, continues Colin, are calling for more sustainably produced red meat and dairy, and the UK is well-placed to meet this demand. “The ideal situation would be where the UK can achieve the Net Zero Goal by 2050 whilst positioning itself as the most sustainable food producer globally,” he says. If the UK supply chain aims for high production standards, British buyers are more likely to choose UK products over exports. Farmers, alongside the government, have a key role to play in ensuring sustainable productivity growth, i.e., more grown on less land.

“This can be a win–win–win for farmers, consumers and the wider economy,” concludes Colin. “The report’s recommendations should be embraced, and the Net Zero Goals seen as the framework for investment and growth for the sector over the next 30 years.”

You can read the article in full on the Farmers GuardianFarmers GuardianFarmers Guardian website.Colin Morgan