Right support can help Scotland’s land businesses meet net-zero target

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Press Release

A net-zero target for carbon emissions in Scotland by 2045 is challenging but could be achievable with the right support and leadership, Scottish Land & Estates has said.

Speaking following the publication of the latest report from Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the rural business organisation said Scotland was well-placed to make a real impact on carbon emissions, but a ‘just transition’ was needed over future decades.

Mark Tennant, Vice-Chair (Policy) of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Scotland has been ambitious in its adopting targets so far and there is no reason why we should not continue to aim high. Whilst ambitious, we believe net-zero can be achieved by 2045 if government positively supports land managers to implement the changes that will need to be made.

Agriculture is consistently named as significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, but the industry has already made considerable efforts to reduce this.

“One current issue faced by land-based businesses is the separation of land uses in carbon emission calculations. Through afforestation, regeneration of peatland and renewable energy projects, farmers and land managers are already making significant efforts towards the reduction of carbon emission and existing atmospheric carbon levels. Despite this, many of these efforts are not currently recognised because of the strict sectoral approach that is taken between farming, forestry and other land uses. With more and more diversification in land-based business, it is important that the concept of integrated land use is encapsulated within new legislation currently in passage through the Scottish Parliament.”

SLE added that maintaining Scotland’s high-quality food production was essential.

Mr Tennant continued: “All sectors will need to employ considerable changes to reduce their emissions and to adapt to the shifting climate across the supply chain. However, sectors should not be considered in isolation. Industries should work together to find solutions and work with each other address shortfalls where appropriate.

“Domestic production of food is essential for Scotland’s future and quality should not be compromised or overlooked. Importing vast amounts of food is both unsustainable and short-sighted and would lead to us exporting our emissions rather than tackling the problem. Land managers and farmers need to be further encouraged to follow sustainable practices that will improve resilience and economic opportunity as well as meet the changing consumer demand. We believe it is up to government and rural organisations to help this happen.”