NFU Scotland (NFUS) has responded positively to many of the elements included in the Scottish government’s updated Climate Change Plan 2018-2032 published on December 16.

The 250-page document includes chapters on “Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry” and “Agriculture”.

Recommendations in the report will shape Scottish agriculture and land use and include recognition of the support Scotland’s farmers and crofters will need as they continue to take action to tackle climate change.

NFUS President Andrew McCornick said:

The Scottish government’s update to their Climate Change Plan sets out a vision for supporting efficient, high-quality food production through the sustainable use of Scotland’s natural capital to deliver on climate and biodiversity goals.

“That is a vision which NFUS shares and has been outlining consistently for several years.

“There is welcome inclusion in the updated plan of key messages around the importance of agriculture, food and drink to the Scottish economy and the need to avoid off-shoring greenhouse gas emissions.”

Utilising grassland

McCornick continued:

NFUS agrees with the Scottish government that there is a clear need to utilise Scotland’s comparative advantages in grassland and cereals and introduce further measures to allow farmers to invest in new technology as well as promoting the uptake of those for increased productivity and reducing emissions.

“We would encourage the expansion of targeted capital spending through the likes of the Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grants Scheme.

“However, accessibility and relevance of the scheme can be improved. We need fresh options that would see greater engagement from all sectors, in particular arable.

We also need to support those who have been ‘early adopters’ of green technology to continue on that path and advice should form part of the package to ensure those investing in technology make the most of their investment.

“Similarly, new and more relevant approaches to ‘greening’ must form part of the vision for the future of the sector.

“All stakeholders are acutely aware of the challenges ahead, but we remain keen to work in partnership with the Scottish government to develop the many policies outlined in this plan update and promote their delivery to guarantee benefits for the economy, climate and wider environment,” he concluded.