Edward Mountain MSP today has called on the Scottish Government to commit to improving how it collects data on carbon emissions in the farming sector.
The Highlands and Islands MSP believes that the introduction of baseline surveys will provide a clearer picture of how the farming sector is working to enhance the environment.
This issue was raised during Portfolio Questions for the Environment and Climate Change at the Scottish Parliament.
Edward Mountain MSP asked: “the Scottish Government what its position is on the recommendation by the Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change that policies for the agricultural sector must be created rapidly to protect the environment and meet emissions targets.”
The Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment replied: “The Climate Change Plan update provides a pathway to transform Scotland’s food and farming sector to continue producing high quality and sustainable food while reducing emissions and enhancing the environment. We are taking action now and the polices are intentionally front-loaded and that’s to achieve early progress.
Edward Mountain MSP then asked: “Many farmers are not credited with the positive work that they do to reduce carbon emissions. Does the Minister agree with me that it is time to carry out baseline surveys, as this would provide a more complete picture of how farmers are part of the solution and not the problem.”
The Minister said: “My understanding is that is part of the recommendations that we have received.”
Following Portfolio Questions, Edward Mountain MSP commented:
“Farmers can be unfairly credited with being large carbon emitters because the data that is currently collected on agriculture doesn’t tell the full story. This needs to change.
“I’m pleased that the Minister has received recommendations to that effect, however, it is now vital that he commits to implementing these changes.
“Our farmers are the custodians of the countryside and contribute so much to environmental protection, whether that is through replanting hedges or improving soil management.
“They have a good story to tell and improving data sources, especially by undertaking baseline surveys, would underline how farmers are part of the solution to climate change.”