Tim Breitmeyer, CLA President responds to Michael Gove’s speech on the environment:
"The Government deserves a great deal of credit for its ambitious plans to mitigate the impact of climate change, which is among the biggest long-term threats to rural business. The floods in 2016 alone cost affected farmers an estmiated £12,000 each.
“Michael Gove is right to highlight the damage caused by deforestation, but it is not too late. Up to two-thirds of all manmade CO2 emissions could be removed from the atmosphere through a global programme of tree planting. In the UK alone we need to be planting at least 20,000 hectares of trees every year – an area twice the size of Bristol – but also not forget the contribution made from well-managed existing woodland and the planting of significant lengths of hedgerow.
“Farmers and landowners are up to the challenge, and many will be willing to repurpose agricultural land for growing trees and hedges. But they cannot do it alone. If Government is serious about empowering farmers to tackle climate change, its actions must be as ambitious as its words. A long term funding solution, along with a radically reformed planning process that encourages new planting, is urgently required to give farmers the certainty they desperately need.”