Climate change report presents opportunities, says CLA

24 October 2013

The CLA said today (11 July 2013) that a Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report presents opportunities for paying land managers for maintaining carbon levels.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said Managing the Land in a Changing Climate, released this week by the CCC, which independently advises the Government on climate change, was welcome.

He said: "It advises the Government to make sure the market mechanisms - such as water trading and payments for maintaining carbon - are put in place to reward land managers for safeguarding peat and storing water.

"The CLA has long advocated that markets should be created to reward farmers and land managers properly for delivering environmental goods and services."

Mr Cotterell said land managers are acutely aware of the challenges of managing natural processes.

He said: "There are many negative impacts of climate change but landowners are in a unique position to provide solutions. There are clearly opportunities for improved food production and for using new varieties of crops and new technology to take advantage of longer growing seasons.

"More efficient use and storage of water in areas that most need it will be essential. We need to plan now, understand the risks of more frequent periods of drought and help farmers and land managers decide on investments such as building reservoirs."

He said the same was also true for areas that might suffer more frequent flooding, saying "there are opportunities to provide flood alleviation and water retention and storage on certain tracts of land, if the incentives are right".

Mr Cotterell added: "Other opportunities could exist to provide new habitats because of sea level rises, reducing the need for costly hard sea defences and generating a new income stream for land managers. Indeed, environmental markets offer the chance to deliver huge environmental gains to agriculture, shooting, fishing  and many rural businesses."