Farming and land use play a pivotal role here in Cumbria. A dedicated sector group is diligently working to address emissions associated with land use, land use change, forestry, and broader agricultural activities. Here’s an update on their recent progress and priorities.
The scope of this sector group is broad, encompassing land use, forestry, and the farming-related emissions. The challenges are diverse, but equally, so are the opportunities for positive change.
In recent weeks, members have engaged in insightful discussions. In a recent face-to-face meeting, they collaborated with Small World Consulting, delving deep into the emissions baseline data and the trajectory toward achieving net-zero. These discussions laid the foundation for informed decision-making.
The group has solidified its priorities and added a new focus area. This new focus area addresses the potential of grasslands and soil management for carbon sequestration if managed effectively. Given Cumbria’s expansive open spaces and active land management, numerous organisations are already working towards the discussed actions and targets.
Members of this group face a unique challenge. They must strike a balance between harnessing the carbon storage potential in increased woodland and tree planting while meeting the demand for food production and maintaining productive agricultural land.
Areas of Focus for Emission Reduction
Several key areas have emerged as focal points for emission reduction efforts:
- An increase woodland coverage by up to 2% in Cumbria, aligning with the national target.
- Ensuring uniform carbon accounting practices for farmers and implementing universal farm audits to track emissions.
- Developing a baseline assessment for peatland quality and recognising the need to secure a pipeline of peatland restoration projects. Securing public and private funding is critical to these efforts.
- Regenerative Farming Practices: Showcasing local regenerative farming practices that align with sustainability goals. Additionally, the required support to enhance the training and skills of farmers in adopting innovative, low-carbon processes.