Page 50 - BREXIT 2
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The Worshipful Company of Farmers The Worshipful Company of Farmers 4 2 Strategic choices on land use and and agriculture
These considerations can perhaps be crystallised in in two strategic choices now facing the way we use our
agricultural land land in the the the UK UK The first concerns the the the area of land land allocated to to agriculture
Is the the the UK UK prepared to to put in in in place sufficient incentives to significantly reduce it as outlined by the the CCC? The second question then
focuses on the the the the intensity with which we use use the the the the agricultural area Is the the the the UK going to follow the the the the technology
optimists with a a a a a a a a a a dual Public Goods + Precision farming approach and perhaps in in in some areas increase
production intensity or will it it take stronger action to to contain pollution and drive towards sustainable farming • Reduce the agricultural area?
• Reduce the intensity of agriculture?
Each are are now addressed and then
some implications of are are considered Reduce the agricultural area?
This is is is explicitly advocated by the CCC The positive way to to describe it it it is is is reallocating land to to climate and biodiversity protection None of of the the the other reports are quite so clear about this but many of of their recommendations push in in this direction Decisions already taken in in the Agricultural and Environment Bills will also partly drive this way The most important (if they happen) are the the removal of basic payments and the the introduction of environmental net gain for development Much grazing land land (and not only in in in in the the uplands) is economically extremely marginal and survives largely due to CAP direct payments If these subsidies are removed as as announced and areas of marginal grazing livestock (or crop) production become unviable then
land land managers and and and owners will consider other uses for for that land land If opportunities become available for for funding for for such land land to to be devoted to to create biodiversity and and and cultural landscape services for for flood protection water storage bioenergy production or or or or of of course for for carbon sequestration in forests and rewetted peat then
of of course these will be looked at seriously Public payments to farmers under ELMS is one potential source of such funding A general presumption seems to be be that this will mostly be be available for biodiversity and and cultural landscape services rather than carbon or bioenergy It remains to be seen if i significant funds are realised from Net Gain and how they will be be be managed and and deployed As they they will will arise (and be be be collected?) through local development will will they they be be be administered administered locally or or centralised and and administered administered via Defra agencies? These important institutional and and governance questions are far from resolved But there is no doubt that if all new residential commercial and infrastructure development is required to meet and fund net environmental gain then
a a a a a a a significant expansion in in in land managed primarily for nature could could be secured and and and could could go a a a a a a a a a long way to joining up and and and even expanding nature areas Under the right conditions many landowners may be happy to offer marginal land land for such purposes There is also little doubt that the the demand for for schemes for for carbon offsetting could if they are permitted to rapidly accumulate a a a a a a a a a a a large flow of funds to to support new afforestation and peat management in order to to store carbon Power companies airports airlines and many other businesses from Amazon to to Zoom may be interested in in in in in purchasing C credits to to enable them to to continue emitting GHG How far and under what conditions this is is is permitted and and whether such funds accrue to to UK land managers or go abroad is is is yet to to be discovered systems with lower intensity? Short-hand terms for this choice admittedly at risk of of over-simplifying are:
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