The CLA has responded to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry on agriculture, achieving net-zero emissions. In our response, we highlight that landowners and managers are crucial to achieving net-zero across the economy. The ambition to achieve net-zero for the sector should be reframed to look at the full range of positive contributions from farmers and landowners towards the national obligation rather than focussing on the sector specific emissions.
The CLA has responded to Defra's Call for Evidence on key flood and coastal issues to help develop a flood and coastal erosion and national infrastructure strategy. Our evidence outlined the importance of resilience to flood and coastal erosion for farmers and landowners, as in farming the speed of recovery is often slow due to the production cycle, and costs can be very high. Farmers and landowners have long dealt with changeable weather events and are able to cope well, however, their resilience is dependent on good drainage, well-maintained flood defences and a strong strategic vision from Defra and the Environment Agency.
The CLA has responded to the Environment Agency consultation on the new Draft National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England, urging the Government to consider the strategic importance of land when it comes to the introduction of new measures to protect areas at risk of flooding in England.
Agriculture and land use contributes to around 10% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon accounting on farms is one of the best ways to start measuring and then reducing the emissions produced on-farm. This Guidance Note explains the basics of carbon accounting, recommends two carbon calculating tools available for land managers and explains how to interpret the results. The Guidance Note also runs through the different farm management practices that can help reduce emissions for a variety of farm systems.
CLA Director General, Sarah Hendry reflects on her experiences working in climate change and how recent public campaigning has renewed a public sense of urgency.
For many rural businesses, diversification will be a factor in their post-Brexit planning. Trees and woodlands can provide an all too often overlooked opportunity to add sustainable income.
Following the consultation on conservation covenants by the Law Commission in 2013, the Government is now looking to take forward the recommendations set out in their report, with some amendments. This will put conservation covenants into statute as an additional legal tool to aid conservation. A conservation covenant is a voluntary, private agreement between a landowner and another body, which commits the land to be managed for the benefit of conservation.
The CLA has responded, welcoming the introduction of this new conservation tool, but setting out some areas that may need to be refined for conservation covenants to be attractive to landowners.
On 12 March the CLA submitted a response to Defra's consultation Improving our management of water in the environment. The consultation document outlined a number of proposals for water management, including changes to abstraction licencing, new charging methodologies for Internal Drainage Boards and proposals for better flood and coastal risk management.
Climate change is rising rapidly up government’s agenda and new agriculture policy post-Brexit will give landowners and farmers an opportunity to consider both how to reduce their emissions and how to adapt to a warming world.
Harry is a senior policy adviser who has been with the CLA since 2018. Before joining the CLA he worked for 10 years in a range of roles related to farming and the environment. This included working in parliament for 3 years; working for a farmers’ producer organisation; and working on land use policy for a conservation organisation.