Brexit and election fears holding back farmers in tackling climate crisis

October 24, 2019

Agriculture could be key to tackling the climate crisis and meeting the Government's net zero goals but the industry is being held back by political uncertainty, according to the chairman of the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN).

Martin Lines said farmers had received "plenty of warm words" from the Government but no long-term funding guarantees for projects to help them capture carbon and reverse habitat loss.

 

And he said political uncertainty - particularly the future of Brexit and the likelihood of a general election in the near future - is making farmers hesitate.

 

"We know this Government might not be in place for the duration set out in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act - we need long term funding guarantees," he said.

 

In its latest report published on Thursday, the NFFN found 90% of its members think the industry is under-resourced to transition to sustainable food production at scale.

 

A further 54% did not trust the Government to deliver on the public money for public goods policy, while 49% did not think the £3bn earmarked for the policy would be enough.

 

Accelerating climate change is also a barrier to investment as farmers are unsure how best to future-proof their businesses.

 

Mr Lines said: "We are calling for additional support and more money to direct towards those that can deliver the climate change mitigation opportunities."

 

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said farmers are "crucial" to helping the UK reach the government's tough net zero target.

 

"That's why we're reforming agricultural policy and allocating millions to support our hard-working farmers for taking action that locks up carbon and cuts emissions."

 

Source: Sky News

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