UK could produce more food, says minister

More food could be grown in the UK in the future if land in other parts of the world becomes less productive due to climate change, a senior government minister has suggested.

Speaking at Westminster on Monday, Environment Secretary George Eustice said it was likely that rising global temperatures will affect food production in other countries.

“We therefore may see some structural changes in food prices over the longer term which may send a stronger financial signal to produce food and crops in this country,” the Conservative MP said.

However, Eustice was clear that incentives for the likes of tree planting and peatland restoration will remain essential for the UK to meet targets for both biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions.

Bog restoration costs CAFRE £4,250/ha

A project to turn forestry back to peatland at CAFRE’s hill farm in Glenwherry, Co Antrim is expected to cost £4,250 per hectare, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed.

In response to a written question, Minister Poots said the site needed “a significant level of re-engineering”.

“This work involves stump flipping and ground smoothing to eliminate minor drains and ridges, the infilling of main drains, removal and burying of brash mats and turf relocation to assist revegetation,” he said.

A second project at Glenwherry aims to re-wet open moorland not planted in trees. Minister Poots described this as “a simpler process” involving the creation of peat dams and blockage of minor drains. “Indicative costs are approximately £300 per hectare,” he said.

Biomass boiler owners re-join RHANI

A sizeable proportion of Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) claimants in NI continue to back the group which is challenging cuts to scheme payments through the courts.

Andrew Trimble from the Renewable Heat Association for NI (RHANI) said the renewal of memberships for the organisation during the current financial year was “a near full house”.