Fifty signatories pressure Scottish govt to drive carbon-neutral farming by 2050

Scottish government has been urged to drive towards carbon-neutral farming
Scottish government has been urged to drive towards carbon-neutral farming

Fifty signatories, including individual farmers, have signed a letter calling for Scottish government to help the industry reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The joint-letter, which include organisations such as the Scottish Wildlife Trust, NFU Scotland and the Scottish Land and Estates, have urged Cabinet Secretaries Roseanna Cunningham and Fergus Ewing to support farming practices that are less damaging to the climate.

The letter urges the Scottish government to implement policies which helps the farming industry on a path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 2050.

The unprecedented range of stakeholders from across the farming industry to sign the letter demonstrates a willingness to help the industry bolster its environment commitments.

According to Scottish government figures from 2015, agriculture contributes 22.5% of Scotland’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Andrew McCornick, President of NFU Scotland, said Scotland’s farmers and crofters deliver a "huge amount" for the environment whilst producing high quality food.

He said: “With the right support, I am confident we can increase this alongside reducing our emissions and increasing our profitability.

“That bright future is a goal we should all unite around and I am delighted to see the widespread support it has already secured.

“Scottish farmers have always been great innovators. Given the chance they will grasp the opportunities to be at the forefront of the adoption of modern farming techniques that will integrate quality food production within balanced agri-ecological systems.”

Westminster has signalled a shift to green farming policies after Brexit. Earlier this year, Defra Secretary Michael Gove announced British farmers will receive money to make improvements to the environment under a new system of subsidies.

Under it, farmers will be rewarded for planting wildlife habitats, woods, wildflower meadows and other environmental benefits.

Bruce Wilson, Scottish Wildlife Trust Senior Policy Officer said: “It is time to get serious about this issue and the imminent reform of Scotland’s land management subsidies due to Brexit gives us a rare chance to re-align support to help farmers, crofters and other land managers substantially reduce emissions and do more for biodiversity while also running sustainable businesses.”

Organisations signing the letter

Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA)

Biodynamic Association

Buglife Scotland

Caledonain Organic

Church of Scotland

Compassion in World Farming


Community Land Scotland


Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens

Friends of the Earth Scotland

Food Ethics Council

Froglife Trust Scotland

Glasgow Community Food Network

Global Justice Now

National Trust for Scotland

NFU Scotland

Nourish Scotland

Organic Growers Alliance

Permaculture Scotland


RSPB Scotland

Royal Scottish Geographic Society

Scotland the Bread

Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society

Scottish Badgers

Scottish Crofting Federation

Scottish Farming and Wildlife Advisors Group

Scottish Land and Estates

Scottish Organic Forum

Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA)

Scottish Rural Action

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Scottish Wild Land Group

Soil Association Scotland

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Tweed Forum

Unite Scotland

Woodland Trust

WWF Scotland

Individuals signing the letter

Professor James Curran

John B Cameron, Member, Livestock Health Scotland

Dave Reay, University of Edinburgh

Professor Pete Smith, Professor of Soils and Global Change, University of Aberdeen

Lorna Murray, Member of Scotish Churches Rural Group

Professor Davy McCraken, Head of SRUC’s Hll and Mountain Research Centre

Antonia Ineson, Myreside Organics

Hazel Mackenzie, Shetland crofter, member of the Nature Friendly Farming Network

Michael Clarke, Dumfriesshire Farmer, member of the Nature Friendly Farming Network

Carey Coombs, Farmer