Letter to Mairi Gougeon following the Climate Change Committee report

On 9 December, 28 organisations wrote to Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, following the publication of the Climate Change Committee’s ‘Progress in reducing emissions in Scotland’ report.

The full letter, also available here, follows:

To: Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands 

Dear Cabinet Secretary,

The Climate Change Committee reported this week that there has been ‘minimal progress’ in reducing climate emissions from agriculture in the past decade, and that detail on a low-carbon agricultural policy is ‘urgently needed’.

This was a major intervention that should make clear the need for the Scottish Government to act with renewed ambition. We believe the report provides further evidence that farming matters to everyone, and that public spending on farming must reflect this.

Farming is Scotland’s third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and emissions from farming have fallen at a significantly slower pace than from almost all other sectors. Farming is also a major cause of the loss of Scotland’s nature. Farming itself, and our food security, depend on a stable climate and thriving nature.

If Scotland is to meet its climate targets and reverse the rapid decline of species and habitats, the Scottish Government must act faster to develop detailed policy proposals and implement them at pace, using existing powers and those created by the forthcoming Agriculture Bill. Nothing less than meaningful and transformative change is required. The Scottish public’s support for such change is underlined by the thousands of people who have signed the Farm for Scotland’s Future petition calling for a Bill that makes farming work for nature, climate and people.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to achieve that goal. It must not be wasted.

We urge you to ensure that Scotland’s new farm funding system helps ALL farmers and crofters to produce food while cutting climate emissions, protecting and restoring nature, promoting the highest standards of animal welfare, and revitalising our rural areas for everyone to enjoy.

Yours sincerely,

Lang Banks, Director, WWF Scotland

Alan Drever, Chair, Nature Foundation

Tali Eichner, Policy Manager, Community Supported Agriculture

Shivali Fifield, CEO, Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland

Helen Geddes, Director, The Cairngorms Campaign

Catherine Gee, Deputy Chief Executive, Keep Scotland Beautiful

Dr Tony Gent, CEO, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

Russel Hobson, Director of Evidence and Policy, Butterfly Conservation

Gus Jones, Convener, Badenoch & Strathspey Conservation Group

Joanna Lewis, Director of Policy and Strategy, Soil Association

Dr Deborah Long, Chief Officer, Scottish Environment LINK

Philip Lymbery, global CEO, Compassion in World Farming

Craig Macadam, Conservation Director, Buglife 

Robin McAlpine, Founder, Common Weal

Anne McCall, Director, RSPB Scotland

Steve McMinn, Trustee/Director, Rare Breeds Survival Trust

John Mayhew, Director, Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland

Brendan Paddy, Director, Ramblers Scotland

Eddie Palmer, Chair, Scottish Badgers

Gill Perkins, CEO, Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Jo Pike, Chief Executive, Scottish Wildlife Trust

Pete Ritchie, Director, Nourish Scotland

Mike Robinson, Chair, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Alastair Seaman, Director of Scotland, The Woodland Trust

Alistair Whyte, Head of Plantlife Scotland

Dr Carol Williams, Director of Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust

Dave Windle, Trustee, North East Mountain Trust

Kathy Wormald, Chief Executive Officer, The Froglife Trust