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Land Use and Agriculture

The Land Use and Agriculture planning group is well established and has been discussing land issues and their links to climate change and carbon sequestration for some time. A sub-working group is currently undertaking a piece of work to provide indicative figures for carbon storage and sequestration (flux) for each of the main habitats/land use types in NE England, utilising the Natural England Research Report NERR094 (2021). These figures will help to inform discussions about the contribution that land-use and land management can make to achieving net zero in NE England.

The work will enable us to gain a better understanding of the contribution of land-use and land management to the carbon balance for the region as a whole. The results will inform current discussions about how we will use and manage land by showing the impacts on carbon storage and sequestration. The will also show the relative importance of land-use and management compared with other aspects of tackling climate change, such as energy production and transport that are the subject of other NEECCo sub-groups. The objective is not to produce exact figures but to provide “ballpark” estimates and relative figures for different habitats and land-use types, producing a strategic level overview to increase understanding and awareness. As far as we are aware this is the first time this has been done in NE England and we anticipate that this work will be refined and built on as the value of it is demonstrated and interest in it grows.

The Land Use has identified 2 areas of work where we can add value:

Data Capture working group – This group will look at the current data sets available for the North East in terms of land use, carbon emission and sequestration. We want to produce a clear map of the NE and the land use position as it stands today. Thais is hoped to allow for scenario building on land use change and the carbon difference that will make.   

Survey of Landowners and Natural capital owners Working Group – Representatives of farmers and landowners stated that there was no clear understanding of their current knowledge of natural capital or carbon credit potential or what their plans where going forward. A survey of these stakeholders produced by a single agency such as the NFU would not be disseminated by other agencies or the findings shared. A role for this group will be to produce and disseminate through partners a survey and share the results with all partners.

Again we will work with the indicators group to avoid duplication and add value.

Work continues in the group to establish the best way to help Land Owners, Farmers and Local Authorities through the many different policy changes including:

  • ELMS
  • Local Nature Recovery Strategies
  • Biodiversity Net Gain

Land Use Planning Group Members

Members of the planning group bring their skillsets and knowledge from the following partnership organisations:

  • Capability North East (Chair)
  • NFU
  • Northumbria University
  • Natural England
  • Gateshead Council
  • North Pennines AONB
  • Environment Agency
  • Rural Design Centre
  • Northumberland National Park
  • Newcastle City Council
  • CLA
  • Groundwork
  • GCV Green Network
  • NEECCo
  • Durham Community Action
  • Forestry Commission
  • Confor
  • Woodland Trust
  • Environment Agency
  • Northumbrian Water