Scotland’s farmers can lead on climate crisis

Farming communities can play a leading role in tackling the climate crisis

Scotland’s farmers have a crucial role to play in leading our efforts to tackle the climate crisis, say the Scottish Greens.

The party’s rural affairs spokesperson, Ariane Burgess MSP, has called for “constructive teamwork” between the Scottish Government and Scotland’s farmers to deliver for our communities and our planet.

Ms Burgess said:

“Scotland’s farmers perhaps more than any other sector play one of the most important roles for our nation in providing food security and highly skilled, often rural jobs.

“We fully recognise that they are facing multiple challenges caused by Brexit, being let down time and time again by the Tory government at Westminster, and the economic stresses caused by the failing UK economy.

“But the climate and nature emergencies pose an existential threat to both the industry and our society, if we don’t step up to the challenge and make the significant changes needed, particularly in how we use our land and produce our food. 

“We acknowledge the pace and scale of change can be daunting, but that’s why a team effort is required more than ever.  With Scottish Greens in government, our cooperation agreement has provided record funding for nature restoration projects.

"That is available to all land managers, and is in addition to the commitment to bring in a new agricultural support scheme led by the recommendations of the industry’s own working groups. 

“It also commits to significant support through initiatives like Regional Land Use Partnerships, which bring together land managers across sectors to devise ways to tackle the climate and nature emergencies at a landscape level.

“Scotland has also led the way in reintroducing the iconic beaver to our river ways, to the extent where England and Wales are now following suit and receiving many of the beavers which have been removed under licence from problem areas. 

“The Beaver Strategy for Scotland was developed in partnership with land managers and farmers, and recognises that translocations are a vital tool to ease population pressure in problem areas whilst moving animals to locations where they are welcomed by communities. 

“NatureScot are also working with farmers on issues such as lamb loss in upland areas, showing simple measures like lambing in polytunnels can have a huge positive impact on lamb loss without having to resort to species control. 

“This is the kind of constructive teamwork that’s needed, if we are to face up to the scale of the challenge Scotland’s environment and communities are facing.”