Farming News - NFU reiterates its net zero aims for agriculture

NFU reiterates its net zero aims for agriculture

02 May 2019
Frontdesk / Renewables

Guy Smith on net zero agriculture

The NFU has reiterated that improvements in productivity, carbon capture and renewable energy production are the most effective ways to reach agricultural net zero targets, as part of its ambition to reach net zero by 2040.

Responding to recommendations by the Committee on Climate Change, NFU Deputy President Guy Smith said:

“The NFU is working towards an ambitious goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040, as a contribution to the CCC’s proposed 2050 target. Our organisations are aligned: acting to tackle damaging climate change is vital.

“However, we will not halt climate change by curbing British production and exporting it to countries which may not have the same environmental conscience, or ambition to reduce their climate impact. Rather, we must farm smarter, focussing on improving productivity, encouraging carbon capture and boosting our production of renewable energy.

“In Britain, 65% of our farmland is best suited to grazing animals, so our ambition is that the climate impact of UK grazing is amongst the lowest in the world. Already, research from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation shows that beef production in Western Europe is 2.5 times more carbon-efficient than the global average. At the same time UK farmland conserves important carbon stocks in England’s uplands.

“British farmers have an important role to play in tackling climate change and our members are committed to this challenge, alongside fulfilling their responsibility to the public in providing high quality, sustainable and affordable food.”

CLA Deputy President Mark Bridgman said:

“Farmers will need to adapt to changing consumer habits, with current trends suggesting this will lead to less red meat and dairy being consumed, but there are also significant opportunities. The planting of billions of trees across the country, growing of crops for energy and natural habitat restoration will all play a vital role. The successful introduction of environmental land management schemes, which ensures farmers and landowners are adequately rewarded for sustainable practices alongside environmental delivery, is key to making this a reality.

“We will need to ensure that changes in agricultural practices do not come to the detriment of rural communities and the rural economy, and that the transition is gradual, with on-going support for land managers.”