Question reference: S6W-14199
- Asked by: Liam McArthur, MSP for Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Date lodged: 20 January 2023
Current status: Answered by Mairi Gougeon on 30 January 2023
To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the Climate Change Committee’s assessment in its Progress in reducing emissions in Scotland – 2022 Report to Parliament that "Agroforestry and hedgerows offer the opportunity to increase carbon stocks on farms while allowing agricultural production to continue", and whether it will commit to producing (a) targets and (b) delivery reports for agroforestry and hedgerows.
We agree that agroforestry and hedgerows can be incorporated throughout agriculturally productive land, offering carbon sequestration and biodiversity benefits. We support this through grants and the initiatives such as the Integrating Trees Network. The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) is the Scottish Government’s mechanism for providing targeted support to land managers to undertake specific actions on environmental management. Inclusive of contracts issued through the 2022 round of AECS, to date the scheme will have committed over £14.5 million to support the planting or replanting of over 678,000 metres of hedgerows.
In the Climate Change Plan update (CCPu), we committed to ambitious targets for tree planting, rising to 18,000 hectares per year by 2024-25. A range of different types of tree planting, including agroforestry and farm woodlands, contribute to this target which has reporting arrangements in place through the CCPu.
We are aiming to introduce a Natural Environment Bill in year three of this parliamentary session which will contain provisions to put in place statutory targets for nature restoration and a framework for setting, monitoring, enforcing and reporting on those targets.