We welcome the opportunity to provide evidence on the government’s approach to delivery of its net zero target, as part of an Independent Review of Net Zero.
The NFU wants to lead the world in the production of climate friendly food and play our part in a zero-carbon economy.
We are committed to reducing agricultural and land-based emissions, and we have a special role in creating ‘negative emissions’ since most of these pathways begin with the plants that we grow capturing carbon from the air.
In this response we briefly set out our views on what is required to deliver our challenging, but achievable, net zero ambition at pace and scale.
Our response specifically covers a selection of questions from the call for evidence:
What growth benefits/opportunities have you had, or do you envisage having, from the net zero transition?
We highlight the need for net zero to be given priority within Defra's ATP (Agricultural Transition Plan).
We envisage greater energy independence within rural communities, driving energy self-sufficiency for farm businesses' electricity supply.
What barriers do you face in decarbonising your business and its operations?
To achieve decarbonisation, it is essential that the government's domestic agricultural policy supports this journey in the medium and long term.
Our response emphasises the need for farmers to have certainty, especially on support from the Energy Bill Relief Scheme beyond March 2023 and for nitrogen fertiliser suppliers to publish prices to give businesses time to plan.
What challenges has the net zero transition presented to your business?
We've always argued that, as well as schemes and volatility provisions, the government needs to deliver regulatory reform, an immigration policy that provides an accessible workforce, free trade agreements that respect UK production standards and a fair deal in the supply chain.
What more could be done to support your business and/or sector to decarbonise?
As well as upgraded infrastructure in rural areas, we also call for; an accommodating planning system for agricultural buildings, safeguards to ensure nature-based projects work alongside domestic production of food, energy, and fibre, and exploration around alternatives to inorganic nitrogen fertiliser supplies.
NFU members can read our response in full. Download: NFU response to Net Zero Review call for evidence