Countryside: Climate Change

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 13th July 2020.

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Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the CPRE report, Greener, better, faster: countryside solutions to the climate emergency and for a green recovery, published in July 2020.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I had the pleasure of speaking at the launch of the CPRE report, Greener, Better, Faster in which the countryside is at the heart of a green recovery and a source of climate change solutions.

While the world is rightly focused on tackling the immediate threat of coronavirus, other great global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss have not gone away. The Government remains committed to being a world leader on tackling the environmental crises we face.

As we develop our mitigation plans, we will need to manage trade-offs with our other objectives, for example, balancing land use change for mitigation purposes (e.g. planting trees) with enhancing the natural environment and improving food security.

Our Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme is the cornerstone of our new agricultural policy. Founded on the principle of “public money for public goods”, ELM is intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy.

Farmers and other land managers may enter into agreements to be paid for delivering the following public goods: clean air; clean and plentiful water; thriving plants and wildlife; reduction in and protection from environmental hazards; beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment; mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

Mitigation of and adaptation to climate change are important goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and important objectives of ELM. ELM could support this through providing funding for land management activities that reduce greenhouse gas emission and sequester carbon.

Adapting to the inevitable changes in our climate is also vital. While we continue to reduce our contribution to climate change, we are also taking robust action to improve the resilience of our people, economy and environment.

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