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Jeremy's Blog 19th February 2021: Looking Beyond

This article by Jeremy Moody first appeared in the CAAV e-Briefing of 18th February 2021.

Reflecting on conversations over the last week, one common theme has been the importance of looking beyond the immediate challenge. Seeing where the world is moving will aid better decisions that are more effective for the longer term when meeting immediate issues. The pressure for climate change mitigation and other environmental goals is now a central part of policies across the United Kingdom.

Across the United Kingdom improving the capacity for and covering of slurry storage is sought for better water quality (pollution) and air quality (ammonia). Many do not meet present requirements and regulations will require higher standards from all. Once required by law, there could be a sudden rush for contractors and it might be hard to explain the case for grants.

Grants have long been long been available and it appears will be offered in the meantime. England’s Agricultural Transition Plan offers a Slurry Investment Scheme later next year to help farmers exceed the present regulatory requirements with at least six months storage and an impermeable cover and so:
“prepare for increasingly effective and comprehensive enforcement of the rules about slurry management over the transition period”.
The consultation on that increased required capacity is due this spring. Wales has already raised its standards. Scotland has a consultation out now.

The Clean Growth Strategy has said for some time that houses, not just let ones, are to be at Band C by 2035. We await a Heat and Buildings Strategy. Just meeting the current EPC goal should be seen as only a start on the long road to net zero. Planning for that longer term may see money spent more wisely. A 2019 review of the Corporation of London’s large commercial and residential portfolio put these costs:

  • £206 million to get to Band B in 2050
  • £436 million to Band A
  • £1.9 billion to achieve net zero.

However, if the greenest option were taken at each point in the regular programme of maintenance and works that cost might be cut to £800 million.

With DEFRA’s Agricultural Transition Plan for England, the new RPA Five Year Strategy makes the clear statement that, in delivering agricultural transition, it will be serving farmers
“running sustainable businesses that don’t need to rely on public subsidy”,
again pointing the way ahead for those taking decisions. Earlier planning in making that transition will again be more effective planning, giving more time to find the different answers that suit each client.

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