The UK Government has today announced that it will set a target to eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050.

Britain is the first major nation to propose this target. However, some say the phase-out is too late to protect the climate, whilst others are concerned about whether it is possible to make this a reality.

Organisations from within the countryside and farming sector have had the following reactions:

Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "The government’s commitment to net zero is a bold and necessary step forward in tackling the climate emergency.

"The longer we leave it to take action on climate breakdown, the more difficult and expensive that task will then become. We therefore urge the government to be even more ambitious with its target, aiming for net-zero by 2045.

"Now that this target has been set, the government must back it up by introducing policies that ensure that it delivers on its commitments. We need to see policies and funding that guarantees better land use, increases tree and hedgerow planting and reverses the degradation of our soils so that we can drive carbon back into the ground.

"Many solutions to this crisis lie in restoring our natural world. While the countryside may be on the front line against climate change, it can also provide the solutions that we so desperately need."

CLA deputy president Mark Bridgeman said:

“These ambitious targets should be welcomed as the first step towards achieving a net-zero economy by 2050, while helping to focus minds on the challenge ahead.

“However, now comes the difficult job of creating workable policies which will ensure the UK leads by example in delivery too. The CLA is ready to work with government to help make these a reality.

“Net-zero targets are simply unachievable without the support and input of landowners and farmers who will be crucial in the strategy’s delivery. The successful introduction of environmental land management schemes will be key, creating the platform which will, for example, deliver the billions of trees to offset emissions.

“Finally, the work has to continue on the international stage to ensure a global response. We should avoid implementing policies which simply exports our carbon to countries with less of an environmental conscience.”

NFU chief renewables and climate change adviser Dr Jonathan Scurlock said: “The NFU has already laid out its ambitious goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040 and we are ready to play our part in tackling climate change.

“This is absolutely the right time for the country and our sector to set ourselves challenging goals, all while maintaining our high standards of animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety that our food production system guarantees.

“The NFU firmly believes that we will not tackle climate change by curbing British production and exporting our greenhouse gas emissions to other countries who do not have the same high standards of environmental protection, or any ambition to reduce their climate impact. We look forward to engaging with Government, industry and our members to work towards targeted policy measures that help us realise our ambition of net zero agriculture.”