(a) Woodland Trust – John Tucker
(b) Achieving Net Zero – Farming’s 2040 Goal – Andrew Critchlow (NFU) and Chloe Palmer (Farm Environment) (documents attached)
(c) Discussion and suggested actions from presentations
The Benefits of Agroforestry
John Tucker, Director of Woodland Outreach for The Woorland Trust made a presentation to the Working Group around the benefits of agroforestry. A copy of the presentation is attached. Topics covered included the benefits of agroforestry, which included ecosystem services, direct and indirect outputs and an increase in carbon sequestered. Reference was made to a new woodland creation grant in England due to be announced by the Forestry Commission which would make schemes financially attractive to landowners.
Net Zero and Agriculture
Andrew Critchlow, Derbyshire County NFU Advisor, made a presentation around the NFU’s commitment to achieve net zero agriculture by 2040. A copy of the presentation is attached. The aspiration was based around three pillars, namely, pillar 1 – boosting productivity to reduce emissions, pillar 2, the storing of carbon on farmland and pillar 3, renewables and the bio economy and actions for net zero and where the local authority could help were set out for each one. Previous forms of rural development funding have been phased out and it new forms are likely to be linked to Local Industrial Strategies administered through the LEPS, and it was suggested that funding for agricultural and rural projects should be ring-fenced and maintained at least at existing levels. Reference was also made to the Environmental Land Management Scheme from 2024, which was still in development.
Hope Valley Farmers: Farmer collaboration and climate change
Chloe Palmer, HVF Facilitator, made a presentation around the Hope Valley Farmers Collaboration which formed in 2017. A copy of the presentation is attached. The group has increased in numbers from 28 and 45 and examples of the work undertaken by the members working together were set out, and particular reference was made to a soil health project funded by Severn Trent to deliver works to improve soil structure and biology and thereby increase carbon storage. Future plans included an expansion of the soils project. continuing the relationship with the Woodland trust to explore funding route to build upon tree planting successes, and to explore different management techniques for permanent grassland could increase the scope for carbon storage. In response to a query regarding the maintenance of live stock and methane, it was anticipated that by looking at what the animals were fed could influence the carbon footprint calculation through the carbon audit. Discussion also ensured around the carbon sequestion of pasture and grassland. It was noted that the Hope Valley project was a pilot within the area. Ways in which the borough council could help were discussed, including facilitating changes on farms and supporting new funding schemes and diversification in the rural economy.
The presenters were thanked for their attendance and presentations.
Actions and Discussion
Details of the Woodland Creation Grants would be circulated, and what changes would have to be in place to facilitate change for farms to be sustainable would be examined.
The management of the council’s own land and creating a co-ordinated plan for the future management of areas and pockets of land would be discussed by the bio-diversity group to report back to a future meeting of this group. It was also suggested that work should be undertaken with DCC around a verges policy to ensure verges are as healthy as possible. Reference was made to various other groups within the borough together with the wish to support and encourage voluntary groups in a co-ordinated way. The need for officers to be educated around bio diversity issues was discussed.