This report presents the CCC’s first ever in-depth advice on UK agricultural and land use policies. The report assesses the way we use our land today and the changes required in how we farm and use land in order to deliver the UK Government’s Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.
2. Key findings
Net Zero requires a transformation in land use across the UK. The report sets out a detailed range of options to drive emissions reductions in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Increase tree planting – increasing UK forestry cover from 13% to at least 17% by 2050 by planting around 30,000 hectares (90 – 120 million trees) of broadleaf and conifer woodland each year.
- Encourage low-carbon farming practices – such as ‘controlled-release’ fertilisers, improving livestock health and slurry acidification.
- Restore peatlands – restoring at least 50% of upland peat and 25% of lowland peat.
- Encourage bioenergy crops – expand the planting of UK energy crops to around 23,000 hectares each year.
- Reduce food waste and consumption of the most carbon-intensive foods – reduce the 13.6 million tonnes of food waste produced annually by 20% and the consumption of beef, lamb and dairy by at least 20% per person, well within current healthy eating guidelines.
3. Supporting research and data
We considered an extensive evidence base for this report. Relevant publications and outputs are included below:
- Exhibits – Land use – Policies in a Net Zero UK – 2020
- Professor Allan Buckwell (2019) Summary report, CCC land use advisory group
- Tim Benton (2019) Climate change and diets – a CCC discussion meeting
- Environment Systems Ltd (2020) Tree Suitability Modelling – Planting Opportunities for Sessile Oak and Sitka Spruce in Wales in a Changing Climate
- Vivid Economics and ADAS (2020) Policy framework for deep emissions reductions and carbon removals in agriculture and land use in the UK
- Dr Iain Brown (2020) Scoping Wider Impacts of Low Carbon Farming
- Vivid Economics and CEH (2020) Economic impacts of Net Zero land use scenarios
- When considering the annual emissions savings for lowland peat restoration (both the MtCO2e and lifetime value) set out in Chapter 3 of the CCC report, please refer to page 57 of this Vivid report. All other references to lowland peat restoration elsewhere in the CCC report remain valid.