Agriculture: Land

(asked on 17th November 2021) - View Source

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

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, (1) to investigate the purchase of agricultural farmland by multinational companies for the purpose of planting trees to offset carbon emissions, and (2) to prevent agricultural farm land being purchased for such purposes.

Answered by
Lord Benyon Portrait
Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
This question was answered on 3rd December 2021

Voluntary carbon markets can be used by companies to finance nature-based solutions to climate change, and they can provide another potential income stream for landowners and farmers in appropriate areas. However, they should only ever be used in addition to action that companies are taking to reduce their own emissions in line with independently verified science-based targets. Guidance for companies on the responsible use of voluntary carbon markets is set out in Environmental Reporting Guidelines.

The UK Woodland Carbon Code and UK Peatland Code provide robust arrangements for the registration and monitoring of woodland creation and peatland restoration projects in the UK. These codes are supported by the publicly accessible UK Land Carbon Registry, which contains details of projects registered under these codes and the issuance of carbon units arising from these projects.

Her Majesty's Land Registry publishes information on all companies (UK and overseas) which own property in England and Wales ( Agricultural and planning policies are devolved matters.

It is important that tree planting and nature-based solutions more generally are undertaken in places that account for the multiple benefits we get from land. Planning policy is an important tool in helping to manage land use, as are environmental regulations and consultations to ensure that woodland creation, in particular, is undertaken in appropriate places. New tools, like Local Nature Recovery Strategies introduced in the Environment Act 2021, will help identify and map new opportunities for nature recovery and nature-based solutions.

We are also exploring how we can support more land sharing, for example by encouraging tree planting alongside or as part of food production through agroforestry. In the Net Zero Strategy published in October 2021, we committed to encourage and support increased agroforestry.

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