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UK Environmental Audit Committee Calls for Urgent Integration of Food Security in Land Use Framework

The Environmental Audit Committee in the UK has released a report urging the Government to place a high priority on food security in its forthcoming Land Use Framework.

The report, centred on 'environmental change and food security', underscores the necessity for a coordinated approach to agriculture, environmental preservation, and achieving net zero targets.

The Framework is anticipated to offer guidance to farmers, assisting them in aligning their operations with the UK's environmental and nature conservation objectives.

The Committee's report emphasises the need to balance sustainable food production with environmental considerations, particularly in light of recent adverse weather events that have impacted crop yields in the UK.

A principal element of the Committee's recommendations is the significance of Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes. These schemes, which provide financial incentives to farmers and land managers for achieving environmental goals, are deemed essential for bolstering food security.

The Committee suggests that the Government formally recognise food security as a public good and incorporate it more prominently in the ELM schemes.

The report also recognises the Government's efforts in establishing baseline metrics for food sustainability, essential for evaluating the resilience and sustainability of the food system. However, the Committee calls for more detailed information regarding the Government's plans and timelines for these metrics.

Moreover, the Committee notes the potential of emerging technologies in enhancing sustainable food production. It highlights the importance of innovations such as advanced crop varieties, vertical farming, drone technology in agriculture, and fertilisers derived from waste materials. The Committee recommends that the Government develop a comprehensive strategy for the adoption and regulation of these technologies.

Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, in his statement, highlighted the global impact of climate change and biodiversity loss on food supply.

He emphasised the critical need for the Land Use Framework to effectively manage the competing demands on land resources. Dunne called for the timely publication of the Framework, asserting that food security should be a central aspect of both the Framework and the Environmental Land Management Schemes.

He urged the Government to provide clear guidance and support to the agricultural sector to foster a resilient and secure food system in the UK.


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