(asked on 10th October 2022) - View Source

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recent extreme weather; and whether his Department is taking steps to provide advice to the horticulture industry on urban (a) greening and (b) cooling.

Answered by
Trudy Harrison Portrait
Trudy Harrison
This question was answered on 3rd November 2022

We have extensive plans in place and underway to adapt to and mitigate the risks of a warming climate. This includes our work being delivered through our landmark Environment Act to protect and increase biodiversity, protect and restore our peatlands, wetlands and natural environment, and improve air quality. We are working closely with responsible departments to ensure they are addressing the risks posed by extreme weather and will respond to the Climate Change Committee's assessment of climate risks in our next National Adaptation Programme, due to be published in 2023.

We have engaged with a number of initiatives to better understand and respond to the effects of climate change on food production. We provide advice to farmers via the Farming Advisory Service, which includes advice for water abstraction and consumption in the drier extremes of the year which are likely to become more common.

Our climate risk assessments and adaptation policies are underpinned by research from the Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services. This includes efforts to better align our crop breeding work with pressures identified in climate projections.

Whilst no specific assessment of Government policy or its implication for the horticulture industry has been made at this time, we are aware that the recent extreme weather has had an impact on the industry, effecting yield, growth and quality of crops, and that this continues to be of concern to growers in many parts of the country. We are fortunate in this country to have a highly resilient food supply chain and are able to meet much of our domestic needs supplementing this supply with imports from overseas to meet consumer demand. Any disruption from risks such as adverse weather is unlikely to affect the overall security of the UK’s supply chain. We will continue to keep the situation and any impact on the domestic sector under close review and have increased engagement with the industry to supplement HM Government analysis with real-time intelligence.

We recognise the contribution urban greening can make to climate adaptation. New guidance is being developed by Natural England as part of the Green Infrastructure Framework on how to deliver cooling and other benefits.

Reticulating Splines