The Scottish Government has set an ambition to be net zero by 2045. Net zero means achieving a balance between the emissions produced and the emissions taken out of the atmosphere.
The agriculture sector contributes approximately 19% of Scotland’s total greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions are higher in nitrous oxide and methane than other sectors. However, the agriculture sector also occupies or manages 80% of Scotland’s land. Through management of that land, it is uniquely placed to sequester carbon from the atmosphere through activities including tree planting and peatland restoration.
The drivers towards net zero in the agriculture sector include changing:
Every occupier or manager of agricultural land will commence the journey to net zero from a different starting point and will need to create a bespoke plan to achieve emissions reduction. The starting point is to quantify their current carbon footprint using a carbon calculator and identify the options and costs of changes to commence their journey to net zero.
Through the Preparing for Sustainable Farming programme the Scottish Government has introduced funding to assist the agriculture sector to undertake carbon audits, soil sampling and analysis and animal health and welfare interventions.
There are a number of options for each occupier or manager of agricultural land to transition to net zero. Some options relate to management techniques including:
Other options for each occupier or manager of agricultural land to transition to net zero may include a change of land use. We have significant experience of supporting land occupiers and managers with the legal aspects of such change which may include:
The above options to transition to net zero are also complementary in reducing biodiversity loss across the rural landscape.
At Anderson Strathern we have a long history of supporting land occupiers and managers to adapt to changing management practices and regulation governing the Scottish countryside. We are also committed to helping our clients transition to sustainable and environmentally friendly business models.
Should you wish to discuss any of the above matters in greater detail please do not hesitate to contact John Mitchell, or your usual contact in our rural department.
A version of this article was originally published in LandBusiness.
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