CLA responds to RSA report and Gove's speech on the environment

Tim Breitmeyer, CLA President praises the findings in the "Our Future in the Land" report and Michael Gove's comments on the environment, but stresses the need for government support and additional regulation.
calendar icon 17 July 2019
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When responding to the RSA's Food, Farming and Country report into the future of food and farming, Tim Breitmeyer said:

“There’s much to welcome in this report from the RSA which explores how we can encourage healthy food, drive positive change in the farming sector and food chain through technology and financial support, and ensure that we deliver an economically and environmentally sustainable rural economy. We agree this should be the responsibility of the entire food chain.

“While we support its ultimate ambitions of delivering a food system which can avert the climate and health crises society is facing, this should not come at the expense of domestic farmers becoming uncompetitive internationally and facing imports from countries with lower environmental or animal welfare standards. In this scenario we would just end up exporting our carbon footprint abroad.”

“We also recognise the need for a strong regulatory baseline and critically we endorse the call to make it ‘do the right thing and increasingly difficult to do the wrong things.’”

In response to Michael Gove's speech on the environment, Breitmeyer said:

“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 businesses. The floods in 2016 alone cost affected farmers an estimated £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."

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