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Climate Change

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 2nd May 2006.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Conservative, Buckingham

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of climate change on UK agriculture.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Minister of State (Climate Change and Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The UK climate impacts programme is conducting ongoing work to provide scenarios to show how our climate might change and co-ordinating research on dealing with our future climate. This includes work on climate change impacts on the agriculture sector.

Research suggests that climate change impacts do not appear to threaten the viability of the agriculture industry as a whole in the UK due to the adaptability of UK systems., However, individual agricultural businesses and land managers will need to be alive to the need to adapt.

The UK national adaptation policy framework is currently being developed. It will help to provide a more strategic approach to adaptation, identifying key risks and opportunities common across a number of policy areas and to coordinate approaches where possible. The first phase of the framework will be structured on a sectoral basis, and these sectors will include agriculture, horticulture and forestry as well as water resources, biodiversity and nature conservation.

The new UK climate change programme 2006 has also assessed the role of agriculture in addressing climate change and seeks to raise awareness of the issues across the sector and develop measures to allow the sector to play a full part in tackling climate change.

We have an ongoing programme of research to provide a robust evidence base to support our policy development on climate change impacts and adaptation in agriculture. A project of particular relevance is CC0366: Publication of outputs arising from Defra research on impacts and adaptation in the agricultural sector", which can be found at: http://www2.defra.gov.uk/research/project_data/More.asp?l=CC0366&M=K WS&V=cc03&SUBMIT1=Se arch&SCOPE=0.

Our report Climate change and agriculture in the United Kingdom" also provides information on the new climatic and market conditions that may be experienced and enables farmers to consider strategies that will maintain or enhance their ability to anticipate climate change in their decision-making and take steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The report can be found on Defra's website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environ/climate/climatechange/index.htm.

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