Amendment 100

Part of Agriculture Bill - Report (3rd Day) – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 22nd September 2020.

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Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative 9:45 pm, 22nd September 2020

My Lords, I welcome Amendment 100 and echo many of the sentiments in it, but pay regard to the role that farmers, landowners and the landscape have in reducing the challenge faced by climate change and helping to restore biodiversity, much of which has been discussed through the passage of the Bill.

There is a potential role for farmers in ELM schemes going forward. There is a lot more that the natural landscape can do, not least in areas such as national parks. I know that the North York Moors National Park is keen to play its role and is waiting to hear from the Government about how it can do that under the ELM scheme; in particular, what advice it can offer to farmers and rural businesses that can help. There will be opportunities to plant trees and to help carbon sequestration. Pasture-fed and grass-fed livestock will also help.

There are other opportunities in the Bill, which I hope my noble friend will explore in summing up this group of amendments. There are possibilities to adapt to and mitigate climate change. I always get excited about Slowing the Flow at Pickering and the possibility of rolling out other such schemes, working with nature to store water temporarily on the land. We must not lose sight of the fact that many farmers are small or tenant farmers. They do not own the land, so will not benefit from any of these schemes. I hope that my noble friend and the Government bear that in the back of their mind. The Bill already reflects a commitment that helps farmers to manage livestock in a way that mitigates and adapts to climate change. I welcome the opportunity provided by Amendment 100 to discuss those issues.