Ms Batters did not name any particular celebrity but that has not stopped the papers naming several, who like certain corporate companies are buying land so they can plant trees to “help offset their carbon footprint”.
The climate change committee is calling for up to 120 million trees a year to be planted, and reducing the consumption of beef, lamb and dairy by 20 per cent in the next 10 years.
Planting trees is of course beneficial to the environment if they are the right trees in the right place. However, grazed grassland is far better and more efficient for storing carbon. British grass-fed beef and lamb is a sustainable alternative to pork or chicken which are mostly fed grain, often imported from deforested areas.
The NFU President was speaking as the Government released its food strategy, written in response to a national review led by restauranteur Henry Dimbleby. Fortunately, the Government ignored 50 per cent of his recommendations some of which were blatantly anti farming.
Farmers should first and foremost be food producers. For too long Ministers have been influenced and bullied by environmental lobby groups, mostly sponsored by industrialist into prioritising ‘the environment’, rather than feeding the nation.
I thought these views ended when Margaret Beckett and her touring caravan moved on in 2002. Her message was that we should import most of our food, as she repeated the message coming from her friends in Brussels. That was when the EU had decided the UK should stop farming and be ‘the playground of Europe’!
Since 2002 there have been 9 Secretaries of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Most in post for less than two years. Perhaps now is the time to rebrand this Ministerial position with an emphasis on Food & Farming and ensure the job is filled by someone who not only understands our industry but is prepared to listen to working farmers.
The environment is of course important but, it may come as a surprise to some that it is farmers who produce our food and take care of the environment and countryside – not politicians, nor environmentalists.
The Queen’s Green Canopy marking Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee is a wonderful project. It encourages people from across communities in the UK to plant a tree for the jubilee, particularly in urban settings. Existing woodland is also being dedicated so they too will be preserved for the future.