LANDOWNERS in Wales have backed the Welsh Government's drive to tackle climate change in an upbeat response to its white paper.

Now they've called for the right planning regime to support efforts to achieve it.

“Welsh farmers and landowners want to achieve even more in tackling climate change. Academic studies have already established that our upland farms have the UK’s lowest carbon footprint – and they play a vital role in absorbing carbon emissions,” said CLA Cymru director, Nigel Hollett.

“The new scheme outlined in the Welsh Government’s white paper on agriculture offers a radical opportunity to introduce sustainable land management which encompasses productivity and regeneration in how we harness all that land can contribute to the challenge confronting the whole of society.

“Introducing carbon-neutral facilities such as an infrastructure for electric vehicles, improving connectivity and changing business culture to further reduce travel, and also to dramatically improve building stock and how we heat it – are all very challenging.

"We need a supportive planning regime to let them happen, our energy infrastructure must be improved, we need strong incentives to invest and, above all, we need a workable formula for carbon offsetting – to drive all these.”

Mr Hollett said the Climate Change Committee’s challenge to cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 63 per cent across the UK economy over the next 15 years was extremely ambitious.

"But to reach the goal, the committee has scaled-up the level of ambition required from the agriculture and land use sectors, calling for emission reductions in farming alongside large targets for tree planting and peatland restoration – strengthening land-use is a big part of the ‘solution’ to achieving net zero," he added.

"For this to be feasible, government policies need to be put in place to support urgent action from Welsh landowners. The committee’s report refers to the need for private investment. We need to step-up from philanthropic contributions by enlightened landowners to a culture of widespread private investment which has the certainty of return on capital."