Major shift in UK land use needed to deliver Net Zero emissions

The UK has committed to becoming a Net Zero economy by 2050. Meeting that goal requires a transformation in land use across the UK. Government must confront the rapid changes that are now needed, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says in its first ever in-depth advice on UK agricultural policies.

In 2017, land use – including agriculture, forestry and peatland – accounted for 12% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, with the right support, farmers and land-managers can reduce these emissions by almost two thirds. This transition is necessary for Net Zero, it will create net benefits for the UK and leave our land more resilient to the changing climate.

The Committee’s new report, Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK, presents a detailed range of options to drive emissions reductions in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is published at a time of significant change, as the UK leaves the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy. In Westminster, new Agriculture and Environment Bills are being introduced this month. Similar legislation is planned in Scotland and Wales – opening the way to the steps recommended by the Committee.