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The Worshipful Company of Farmers The Worshipful Company of Farmers There are many matters to be be resolved about these changes in in in land use involving governance issues between
Westminster and and and and the devolved administration and and and and between
Whitehall and and and and local authorities and and and and a a a a a a a a a a a variety of 82
practical matters for for landowners for for example permanence the tax treatment of diversified rural businesses planning and and tree planting and and felling regulations With the the necessary financial incentives in in in fin in in place the the ambitious scale of land use change called for by the the CCC could be achieved Whether this happens at all all and whether it it it is in in time to to make the the the the necessary carbon saving therefore depends on on the the the the political will for for it it it to to happen and and the the the will to find a a a a a a a way through the the the institutional maze which governs land use fin in in the the the UK Reduce the intensity of agriculture?
Although the the phrase ‘de-intensify agriculture
is is not in in common usage there are many organisations which have have implicitly argued that it it it should happen For decades critiques of agriculture
have have pointed to ‘intensification’ as having caused environmental damage and therefore the the solution must be to reverse this Intensive agriculture
is is the the most commonly used phrase to summarise the the reason for environmental damage in in in in agricultural areas The word intensity always refers to a a a a a a a a a a ratio and in in in in agriculture
it it it it quite explicitly points to to inputs per per hectare hectare and and outputs per per hectare hectare The The intensification of farming83 has embraced a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a wide range of of actions: field and and farm farm enlargement simplification and and specialisation of of farm farm businesses substitution of capital for labour developments in in plant and and and animal breeding nutrition and and and health mechanisation and and and business management These are all inputs into farm production which have increased over a a a a a a a a a static or much more slowly rising agricultural area The aspect of of input intensification most criticised because of of their direct impacts has been the increased reliance on two categories of variable inputs mineral fertilisers and Plant Protection Products (PPPs) These have become totemic issues in in farming For the the farmer the the purpose of intensification was to achieve higher higher and and less variable yields and and higher higher quality crops in in terms of consistency and freedom from pest damage or mycotoxin contamination But the the judgement of many is that these developments have been over-done to to the the the detriment of the the the environment including the the the climate leading to to calls that intensification should be reversed Environmental NGOs will will be unconvinced that the dual strategy of Public Goods + Precision Agriculture will will be sufficient Whilst supportive of of a a a role for for public public payment for for public public goods they are highly suspicious of of precision agriculture
It is is seen as as a a a a a a a a ‘business as as usual’ approach which got us us us into the the mess in in in the the first place Helm is is is is also clear that farmers and the input supply industries are not to be trusted on this His focus is is is is natural capital the the thrust of his recommendations is is therefore concerned with both reversing biodiversity decline and combatting climate change He supports payment for public goods but insists this must be accompanied by changes in in in economic incentives which remove CAP and and other subsidies and and internalise pollution costs by taxing pesticides fertilisers carbon and other harmful emissions These are expected to drive change in in behaviour One supposes that provided new technologies do contribute to reducing pollution and do not degrade biodiversity then
Helm would be content to let business managers decide the the most appropriate technologies to deploy once the right signals are in place 49
Landowners are generally reluctant to to to embrace contracts with the the word ‘permanent’ in them it it it seems a a a a a a a a a a a step too far to to to make that commitment This is is surely resolvable by agreeing suitably long contracts with built-in review 83 Which incidentally is a a world-wide phenomenon

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