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Climate Change Committee highlights risk to farmland

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The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has published its latest progress report, which includes an assessment of the effects of climate change in UK farmland.

In particular the report highlighted the risk of erosion to some of the UK’s most productive, but fragile soils, such as the Fens in East Anglia. In particular the authors call on the Government to: ‘Preserve and enhance the country’s natural capital, in order to sustain agriculture productivity in a changing climate, maximise carbon sequestration, and safeguard the economic and amenity benefits the natural environment provides.’ This should include ‘firm measures to preserve the fertility and organic content of important agricultural soils, to achieve the stated goal for all soils to be sustainably managed by 2030.’

Commenting on the report, NFU vice-president Guy Smith said, “This report, highlighting how productive land is at risk, demonstrates the need to retain funding in voluntary initiatives such as Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) to incentivise and support farmers who want to be leaders in protecting soils.”

Trevor Mansfield, head of policy at the Soil Association added, “For the first time, this report highlights the critical red list status of British soils, threatening our climate and future food production. The Soil Association supports the Committee’s call on government to implement measures to protect organic matter in agricultural soils.” He also echoed warnings in the report about the effect that increased maize production could have on soil erosion during adverse weather.

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