Agriculture: Carbon Emissions

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st December 2021.

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Photo of Robert Largan Robert Largan Conservative, High Peak

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) farmers in the transition to net zero and (b) sustainable land management practices.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are introducing three schemes that reward the delivery of environmental benefits: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the Local Nature Recovery scheme and the Landscape Recovery scheme. Our approach to environmental land management is the cornerstone of our new agricultural policy and will be realised through a combination of schemes using public money to reward farmers and land managers for delivering environmentally sustainable actions. The schemes are 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.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) will pay farmers for actions they take (going beyond regulatory requirements) to manage their land in an environmentally sustainable way. Actions will be grouped into simple packages set out as standards, to make it as easy as possible for farmers to identify the actions that are best suited to their land and their business. From 2022, the initial SFI offer will consist of a soils standard, a moorland and rough grazing standard and an animal health and welfare review. The SFI 2022 offer will contribute to our efforts to reach Net Zero – assuming by 2028 the soil standards cover 50% to 70% of eligible agricultural soil in England, this could save approximately 330 to 460 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2028. Then, we will gradually expand the scheme until all elements are available from 2024/25 onwards.

The Local Nature Recovery scheme will reward farmers and other land managers for producing environmental benefits. It will empower land managers to build tailored agreements that help deliver our national environmental priorities in a locally responsive way.

The Landscape Recovery scheme will support the delivery of landscape and ecosystem recovery through long-term, large-scale projects, including projects to restore wilder landscapes in places where that is appropriate, large-scale tree planting and peatland restoration projects. These projects can deliver a wide variety of environmental outcomes and support local environmental priorities while making an important contribution to national targets.

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