Responding to the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) report on the Sixth Carbon Budget, CLA Deputy President Mark Tufnell said:
“Cutting greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 63% across the economy over the next 15 years is an extremely ambitious target.
“To reach this goal, the CCC has scaled up the level of ambition required from the agriculture and land use sectors, calling for emission reductions in farming alongside large targets for tree planting and peatland restoration – strengthening land use is a big part of the ‘solution’ to achieving net zero.
“For this to be feasible, government policies to support urgent action from English and Welsh landowners need to be put in place. The new Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMS) is seen as the main vehicle to reduce these emissions from agriculture, alongside increasing biodiversity and meeting other environmental targets. However, ELMS will not be available until 2024, and so we also need the right policy framework to allow private investment to come onstream, such as for carbon offsetting.
“Many rural businesses are already taking steps to move towards low carbon farming practices from improving sequestration and carbon storage, and are keen to encourage the rapid adoption of new technologies and innovation. However, the wider needs of both farming and nature must be considered in plans to combat climate change.”
“The CLA is also supportive of decarbonising the building stock, although this hugely ambitious target can only be achieved if the EPC methodology accurately assesses the thermal capacity of older buildings and the metric moves from using the fuel cost to carbon cost in its calculations. Targeted support must be made available for off-gas grid rural homes to enable an effective transition to low carbon heating. Furthermore, rural electricity grids need to be upgraded to cope with more electric heating.”