Farming to become unviable in parts of England, says climate change committee

Farming to become unviable in parts of England, says climate change committee

The claim was made in the latest UK Climate Change Risk Assessment, which is drawn up every five years.

The report said: “Access to safe, nutritious and affordable food in the UK is subject to domestic and international risks.

“Climate change may present new opportunities to increase domestic production, but unless more action is taken, the condition of soils and scarce water resources are likely to be limiting factors.

“The resilience of the UK food system will depend on effective management of natural resources both here and overseas and on understanding and managing the response of international markets to climate risks.”

More work

The committee recommended more work be done over the next five years to manage water availability and reduce risks to soils to ensure climate change does not have a negative impact on food security.

It also said more research was needed to understand the potential for long-term shifts in food production.

While recognising the risks presented by climate change to the availability of food in the UK, the Government rejected the committee’s findings, saying the resilience of food supply chains was regularly tested by severe weather and other events and consistently performed well.

Disappointing

NFU vice president Guy Smith said: “It is encouraging to hear this committee urging our Government to take food security more seriously in light of the challenge of climate change and it is equally disappointing to hear our Government react with complacent disregard.

“UK farmers are doing their bit in terms of improved water and soil management to make their farms more resilient to the pressures of a more volatile climate. However, we will need support from Government going forward.

“As one current example – when you consider glyphosate is at risk from being banned by the end of the year then you realise Government must make sure we have the right policies and right regulatory regime in place.

“Glyphosate clearly allows farmers to deploy no-till or low-till techniques which can lead to better soil management – an issue highlighted in the report. It would be madness to remove these sorts of production tools at this time.”

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