‘Nature-friendly’ farming could be equivalent to removing 900,000 cars from UK roads

Greener agricultural approaches could be key to reducing emissions in Britain, as government urged to set out clear strategies for the sector.

A landmark study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has identified huge benefits in backing farmers looking to transition to less environmentally-disruptive practices. 

The ‘Land of Plenty’ report has labelled a lack of direction for the agricultural sector within Westminster’s Net Zero Strategy as a ‘missed opportunity’, with similar gaps observed in the respective plans outlined by Scottish and Welsh legislative bodies. 

green and white tractor on green grass field during daytime

Overall, farming in the UK accounts for around 12% of emissions on land, marking the industry as a major contributor to overall environmental footprint. This could be significantly reduced through ‘nature-friendly’, regenerative methods of cultivating crops and rearing livestock, resulting in significantly more substantial reductions than estimated by the Climate Change Committee. Overall, it is thought savings could equate to removing around 900,000 cars off  British roads.

Among the recommendations are work to help protect and regenerate vital habitats such as flower-rich meadows, and peatlands. Assisting in the recovery of many species now under threat would also deliver substantial gains to ecosystem health, with the grey partridge, tree sparrow, and turtle dove namechecked specifically. All have seen populations decline by at least 90% in the last 50 years. 

Switching to sustainable and Earth-positive farming methods involves tapping into the environment’s innate ability to actively reduce carbon in the atmosphere. Examples include improving soil health to rebuild carbon storage capacity, reducing fertiliser use and demand, and moving away from livestock feed imports.

If we are serious about tackling the twin threats of climate change and nature loss, farming and land use can’t be an afterthought. Many UK farmers are already using their skills and expertise to produce food as sustainably as possible, but they won’t be able to fix a broken system on their own,’ said Tanya Steele, Chief Executive at WWF. ‘UK governments must act urgently to deliver these frameworks and give farmers the clarity they need.’ 

In other UK emissions news, the Mayor of London has just unveiled plans to launch a new £500m green bond programme to support low-carbon energy projects.

Image credit: Chris Ensminger


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2 years ago

Says emissions, but emissions of what please?

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