Memorandum submitted by Mr John Scott (SFS 37)
May I put forward two suggestions which I am keen to see being [made] mentioned and which I hope might be placed on your Committee's agenda.
1. REGIONAL FOOD DEPOTS
Supposing a regional or national emergency completely disrupted transport of food into our towns and cities, then they would be brought to the brink of starvation within a matter of days. Forres, where I live, for example would clear the shelves and stores of its three supermarkets, three butchers and two bakeries in about ten days as well as emptying its fridges and freezers at home. About 7,000 household shoppers rely on Forres for food. Abattoirs, dairies, grain millers and breweries, as well as fish markets are all miles away to the east and south and would be out of reach in an emergency.
It seems very important that, without raising public alarm, regional food depots for dry foods, with enough fuel and dedicated transport, are put in place to deal with a regional or national emergency that threatens or causes a food shortage that could last, say, two weeks.
2. THE FARM CARBON FOOTPRINT
A hectare of wheat, harvested, has, I believe, a carbon footprint whose size is rarely acknowledged. That is caused not just by the fuel and lubricants in the tractor and combine but also by the need to buy in seed, bag fertiliser (especially nitrogen), and chemicals which depend on oil. The total size of this footprint is of course the inescapable outcome of industrialised agriculture.
A useful way to reduce it is for farmers everywhere to club together in a co-op and produce their requirement for diesel from say oil seed rape. The process of turning rape seed into fuel is simple, suitable for farm establishment and an effective replacement of diesel from the oil well. Such a co-op would be excused most of the fuel duty, and it would gain from the R.O.C.'s attributed to it, and finally from the sale of spent seed as cattle food. It seems to me that belonging to such a co-op should be a condition for receiving a full "single farm payment".
If these two suggestions fall outwith your Committee's interest, perhaps you would be able to kindly forward them to a colleague.
There is no need, thank you, to acknowledge this letter unless you would like clarification.