Defra under Attack
Defra and its agencies are coming under increasing attack for failing to meet environmental targets. The Environment Agency is said to be presiding over poor ecological standards, particularly pollution of rivers by sewage works. The Climate Change Committee claims that targets for net zero by 2050 may be laudable but progress is falling way behind that required, not least in woodland creation.
Grants Rates for SFI
Speaking at the Cereals event last week, Secretary of State, George Eustice gave further details of the rates of grant available in the new Sustainable Farming Incentive. He chose to highlight soil health, saying there would be three levels from £26 per hectare for the most elementary soil management rising to £70 per ha for increasing soil organic matter. These levels, he said, are roughly 30% more than would have been available had the old EU methodology been applied.
Invest in Nature for Good Return claims RSPB
A major new report from the RSPB claims that every £1 invested in the restoration of peatland and saltmarshes and creation of woodland would bring a return of £3. The £6.4 billion is itself dwarfed by the indirect benefits of improved water quality, flood management, job creation and mitigation of climate change.
Protein from Insects not Soya
A report from WWF suggests that 20% of imported soya bean could be replaced by insect protein in animal feeds by 2050. Rations for pigs and poultry are heavily reliant on soya, much of which is imported from Brazil and said to be the cause of deforestation. There would need to be a change in legislation as insect protein can only be used in pet food and aquafeed, not farm animal feed. There is no reason why the insect protein should not be produced in this country, another benefit.