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They also deliver a landscape that is attractive and rich in biodiversity. You do not find many tourists demanding to see the wheat fields of the Ukraine, but mixed farming areas such as Tuscany, Devon, Dordogne and County Waterford are attractive to tourists and wildlife alike-and they produce high quality food.

There is a huge amount of training to be done, knowledge to be imparted and research to be undertaken, and that message from the report is incredibly valuable. As noble Lords have mentioned, we need to build on the best of modern knowledge. The noble Lord, Lord Cameron of Dillington, mentioned drip irrigation, for example. How simple, but how very important. We also need to build on the tradition of what grows best where, not only geologically but climatically. Again, biotechnology cannot deliver that for us.

The EU and its member states had better address fast the appalling situation that has arisen whereby vast tracts of land-most recently, for example, 50,000 hectares in Kenya-are being sold off to European companies to produce biofuels. Smallholders in those areas are being dispossessed to become the urban unemployed. That situation is utterly immoral. It might be about meeting the EU climate change targets, but we cannot accept it and we should not encourage it.

Finally, I ask the Minister: what are our preparations for Rio 2012 on the agricultural side of the equation?

5.30 pm

Baroness Quin: My Lords, this has been an extremely interesting debate. I, too, congratulate the committee on its report and congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp of Guildford, on how she introduced it today. Indeed, I thank all speakers in the debate, but give a particular warm thank you to the noble Lord, Lord Framlingham, for his impressive and very enjoyable maiden speech. It was a pleasure to listen to it. It is always a bit of a surprise to address long-standing colleagues in another place by a completely new name. Indeed, it might have been rather fun to talk about the noble Lord, Lord Lord, but I fully understand-and I think that we all appreciated-the reasons for his choice of title. It is a particular pleasure for me to be able to pay tribute to him, having been a colleague of his in another place. Because of that, I have known of his long and distinguished history of interest and involvement in agricultural and forestry issues. That was clearly illustrated today. His description of the role of trees in our world was better than any I have ever heard before. We greatly look forward to the contributions on these and other issues that he is going to make during his time in your Lordships' House.

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The issue of the environment and climate change is obviously one on which action is needed at every level-from the dustbin outside your house to the stratosphere. Action is needed at local, regional, national, European, global and international levels. This report obviously looks particularly at the EU role in tackling these issues, and does so in a number of different ways, which I think are highly appropriate. It looks, very importantly, at the role of the common agricultural policy and at environmental policy more generally within the EU, as well as other EU policies that may have an influence on this area, whether they are policies on research and development or approaches to forestry, although there is not a formal EU forestry policy, structural funds and so on. All those issues need to be taken into account in looking at the EU's role. Finally, the report refers to the EU's role in world affairs and how its role in negotiations can affect the global outcomes on environmental and climate change issues. We have seen the Government's response, which I understand is dated September 2010. The Minister may be able to give some updates. I notice, for example, that in the response to us it is mentioned that there will shortly be a formal response to the Commission's forestry paper. I wonder what stage that is now at, whether that formal response has been submitted, and how favourable it was to the Commission's ideas.

I turn to the areas relating to the EU's role that the committee has identified. First, I think that the committee was right to look at the common agricultural policy in the immediate short term and to look ahead at the revision of the CAP in 2013, which is an extremely important moment for us. The committee is also right to have focused on the role of the second pillar, which has become one of the more important developments in the EU in recent years. I remember during my own time in the department when it was smaller than it is now. Although it has grown fairly slowly in comparison to Pillar 1, it is none the less an important development, and the committee is right to assess its potential for the future.

The noble Baroness, Lady Miller, expressed some frustration with having to talk about pillars all the time. However, that is how the CAP is organised at present and we have to look at that in order to decide how we would best like to see things change for the future. Certainly, to me, the second pillar has always had the great benefit of, first, being able to help sectors of agriculture which Pillar 1 traditionally ignored, such as pig and poultry producers and other areas. Secondly, I felt that it was a much more forward-looking part of the agricultural policy than Pillar 1, because it allowed farmers to identify new market opportunities. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it factored in the environment in a way that agricultural policy in the EU had singularly failed to do up until then. I think we in the UK have tried to use that potential within Pillar 2 to good effect in the environmental schemes that have been brought in. Those have involved the delivery of important public goods. Since this is public money, it is important that some public goods are delivered as a result of it.

I also agree with the point made by the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, about the need for a more flexible policy. There is certainly no doubt that Pillar 2 has

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been a good deal more flexible than Pillar 1. Although I understand and appreciate how important many of the payments under Pillar 1 are at present, none the less that has been a rigid, ossifying policy as opposed to Pillar 2, which has the potential to both work with the market and bring in environmental factors. Furthermore, as the noble Earl said, it has the potential to respond to the different agricultural situations in different member states, and in different regions within them.

Interestingly, the committee itself identified some of the present needs of different parts of the EU. One passage in the report refers to the needs of southern European countries and I very much accepted what the committee said on that. In its response, the Government made the reasonable point that in terms of the projects supported, Pillar 2 is largely the responsibility of member states. However, I hope that will not prevent at least the encouragement of certain activities in the countries of southern Europe, where there was particular concern. Indeed, the sharing of knowledge and expertise is also a relevant task within the European Union.

Obviously, we are not sure at this stage how negotiations will proceed on the futures of Pillars 1 and 2 under the reform of the CAP but, whatever the balance in future, there certainly needs to be much more coherence between the two, particularly in view of the environmental and climate change goals that we feel are so important. There needs to be coherence in that respect with the structural funds as well, so that one part of the EU system is not working against some of the goals and commitments which we have, quite rightly, set ourselves. I should be interested to know whether the Government have already identified some of the gaps in the rural development programmes that they think ought to be filled in future, particularly when tackling environmental and climate change issues.

In their response, the Government also praise the voluntary approach adopted by farmers and the industry. That is important as during my own involvement with agriculture, I have certainly seen how much more environmentally aware the farming community is and how many useful initiatives have been taken. Those, such as the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, need to be recognised. There is also, for example, work being done in the dairy industry to identify ways of reducing greenhouse gases and so forth. At the same time and given the gravity of the situation, which was well put to us by my noble friend Lord Giddens, we have to monitor carefully what is happening and be prepared to take tough measures if necessary. The voluntary approach can deliver a lot but it cannot be entirely left to that, given the danger of simply slipping backwards rather than moving forwards, as my noble friend Lord Giddens mentioned in the statistics that he gave us.

The noble Lord, Lord Cameron, mentioned the importance of water. I will not repeat what he said but I thought that the comments he made about the situation both in the EU and more widely internationally were important.

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Forestry is also part of the subject of the report. What action do the Government propose to take as a result of the Read report, which the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, also mentioned and which was first produced in 2009? How might some of the issues that have been raised today be taken forward by the new panel on forestry that was announced recently? Its remit includes climate change mitigation and adaptation, along with a number of issues that have been raised during the course of this debate. Today's debate will therefore be relevant to the work of that panel.

I have mentioned the vivid description by the noble Lord, Lord Framlingham, of the role of trees and the importance of urban woodland planting, which was mentioned by other speakers in the debate. I noted yesterday that my noble friend Lord Clark of Windermere, who used to chair the Forestry Commission, talked about the 1 million trees that had been planted in Wigan, the 1 million in Moseley, the 1 million in Ellesmere Port and the 2 million in Warrington. Although these trees were not planted for profit, they were planted with the public good and public benefit in mind, and that is an important aspect of what we are talking about today.

All Members of the House today have stressed the importance of research-the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, mentioned research into plant disease-and the potential of biotechnology. I agreed with the point in paragraph 180 of the report that an important aspect of the research work being undertaken by the Commission on biotechnology and GM will be ensuring that the conclusions of such publications are accompanied by public communication strategies. There is a real need for a rational debate on these issues to take place.

The noble Baroness, Lady Miller, mentioned the issue of soil management and use. I note that mention was made in the Government's response to the committee's report of the Defra research programme. Can the Minister give us an update on the work of that programme?

Sharing and disseminating information in the EU are obviously crucial and the committee is right to stress that. However, it is also right to stress that doing so needs to be translated into effective advice for farmers, farm workers, landowners and voluntary organisations and indeed throughout society. The role of the EU in world affairs was also mentioned. I very much support what the report said about it.

Overall, in our response to these challenges, we need to follow the words of my noble friend Lord Giddens who urged the Minister to be proactive and positive, despite the huge challenges that face us. I welcome the report and this debate, and I wish the committee every success in its future deliberations on this and related issues.

5.44 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): My Lords, along with other noble Lords, I offer my congratulations to my noble friend Lord Framlingham on his maiden speech, particularly on bringing his expertise in both forestry and agriculture from another place to this House. I hope that in due

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course I can deal with some of those concerns. He raised some of his other concerns about the use of new technologies in this House. That is not a matter that I will try to address this evening, but will leave for the House authorities to address in due course.

Like other noble Lords, I congratulate not only the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, on introducing this debate, but all the members of the committee-those who served on it, those who serve on it now and those who have spoken in the debate. We welcome the report on adapting to climate change. I can give a simple assurance to the noble Lord, Lord Giddens: yes, we take adaptation to climate change very seriously. We support it and it has all-party support. We will continue to work with the previous Government's Climate Change Act. As the noble Lord will remember, we have the adaptation sub-committee, which is chaired by our own noble Lord, Lord Krebs. He will also know that we are required to lay the national adaptation programme before Parliament in 2012 and revise it every few years. We will make sure that we do so by January of next year.

As the noble Lord also knows, there are requirements on several key organisations to produce their own reports on adaptation to climate change. Only recently, we saw some of the key organisations, such as Network Rail, the water companies and others, produce theirs. I involved myself in the launch of Network Rail's report, just to see how it was going on. We are very glad for what it did and the work it is doing, much of which could be described as being on the "stitch in time saves nine" principle. That is, if one does some work now it will save much greater work later, when changes that are sure to happen take place. As the noble Lord put it, certain things have already happened that make change inevitable whatever we can do in mitigation in the future.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss these important issues. As the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, put it, this is an opportunity to give an update on what the Government have been doing. As the noble Baroness will know, it is almost the anniversary of the publication of this report; it came out just before the election last year. If I can correct her, my honourable friend Mr Paice sent the Government's response on 29 June. At least, that is certainly the date that the noble Lord, Lord Carter of Coles, cites in his letter of 7 July 2010, in which he thanks Mr Paice for submitting the Government's response to the report on adapting to climate change. I just make that very small point. I will respond by giving an update on what has been happening since then, because we laid out our response in some detail last year.

We have listened to constructive comments that have been made by all noble Lords as we decide what further action is required to ensure that agriculture and forestry, in both the United Kingdom and Europe, are able to prepare themselves for the threats and-we ought to say, as others have implied-the opportunities that climate change might bring. I was grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, for mentioning the Foresight Global Food and Farming Futures report, which was published in January. It provides further evidence of the challenges facing the global food system; and of

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the need to adapt to climate change to continue to produce food sustainably, and to produce more food for a population that, as the noble Lord, Lord Cameron of Dillington, said, is likely to rise to a little more than 9 billion by the middle of this century. We hope that at that stage, with a bit of luck, it might stabilise at that level.

I start by dealing a little with research and knowledge transfer, which was raised by many Members, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp. All noble Lords will be aware that only yesterday my right honourable friend the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food gave evidence to the committee's new inquiry into innovation in EU agriculture. He answered questions on research and development capacity, programmes and adaptation to climate change. The Government have funded the development of climate change scenarios that provide an essential tool for predicting the impact of climate change. Defra has also commissioned research that used those scenarios to determine the impact on United Kingdom agricultural production and on wider ecosystem services. Therefore, we now have a reasonable understanding of what these impacts are, and are working to identify and prioritise measures for on-farm adaptation. Further discussions with key stakeholders will take place shortly.

The department will also continue to monitor the situation closely. Work is ongoing on the climate change risk assessment, which will draw together evidence and analysis to evaluate the risks, threats and opportunities for the UK posed by climate change. As I made clear in my opening remarks, the report will be laid before Parliament by January 2012, and will inform adaptation policy.

Under the United Kingdom cross-government food research and innovation strategy 2010, set out by the Chief Scientific Adviser, government departments, public funders, industry and academics are all working together to consider how they can stimulate R&D and innovation to meet the challenges posed by climate change and the threat to food security. In addition, the Government will invest up to £90 million over five years in match-funding industry-led applied research through the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform. That funding will stimulate the development of new technologies to increase productivity, and at the same time reduce the environmental impact of the food and farming industries. The aim is sustainable intensification.

I will refer briefly to the report, Science for a New Age of Agriculture, produced by my noble friend Lord Taylor of Holbeach when we were in opposition but adopted by the Government, which was published last December. We are committed in our structural reform plan to implement the recommendations of this report, and work is ongoing in that area.

The Government also feel that communication to both farmers and land managers is important to ensure that research and knowledge are used on the ground. We are considering ways to develop and facilitate knowledge transfer, to help farmers adapt so that they can produce food sustainably. In February, Defra started a study to look at how to develop and deliver integrated advice to farmers on a range of policy objectives, including climate change adaptation, mitigation,

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competitiveness and environmental outcomes. This integrated advice pilot is also expected to report early next year.

The current farm advisory system in England provides one-to-one advice via a telephone helpline service. We intend, as part of the development of a more industry-led approach to farm advice, to explore further the potential for face-to-face advice, and in particular to address areas where breaches of requirements are common. Defra is considering the future delivery of cross-compliance advice under the FAS and will develop options for a big-society approach that will fit in with other advice streams.

In the context of the EU, it is expected that the clearing-house mechanism that was foreshadowed in the European Commission's 2009 White Paper on adapting to climate change, which was referred to by a number of noble Lords, will go live at the beginning of 2012. It will be an aid for the development of adaptation strategies focusing on the needs of national and regional policy-makers.

I turn now to the long-term changes to the CAP. As noble Lords will know, last November the Commission published its communication, The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the Food, Natural Resources and Territorial Challenges of the Future. It identifies adaptation to climate change and fostering green growth through innovation as objectives of a reformed CAP. The Government have responded to the communication and are now taking an active part in discussions with the Commission and with other member states. As I think noble Lords will know, the Government's view is that at this stage the proposals do not go far enough and they risk missing a vital opportunity to put farmers on the right footing. The challenges that farmers are facing are serious and require a long-term solution. Ambitious reform of the CAP is needed if farmers are to meet those climate change adaptation targets and other challenges in the future, as well as to make the most of the opportunities.

The Government agree with the committee that a reformed CAP should reward land managers for the provision of public goods, including land adaptation actions which would not otherwise be undertaken. The CAP should also support sustainable production, which may mean not supporting agricultural production where it would result in unacceptable environmental cost. The United Kingdom is already providing effective support for environmental public benefits through the various agri-environment schemes under Axis 2 of Pillar 2. There is already provision for adaptation actions under the existing Rural Development Programme for England-the RDPE-and measures that benefit soil, water or biodiversity also underpin adaptation action. This should continue to be supported under Pillar 2 as part of a reduced CAP supporting climate change resilience and correcting market failure.

The Government will continue to work positively within Europe to press for the greater ambition that we see as necessary on CAP reform. It will obviously be a very difficult matter, as anyone who has ever been involved in agricultural negotiations in Europe will

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know. I see almost a wry grin on the face of the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, but she knows what I mean, and I think other noble Lords do as well. However, we shall continue to work to that end.

We will also continue to work with the Commission and other member states on the implementation of the EU White Paper on adapting to climate change, which includes embedding adaptation in all EU policies and not just the CAP.

Perhaps I may say a word or two about forestry. This subject was raised initially by the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, and then by all other noble Lords. Climate change represents a significant challenge to our trees and woodlands. It is possible that climate change is currently allowing some of the diseases that come into the country to take hold in our forests. There are also synergies between climate change adaptation, forestry and meeting a number of other environmental objectives, including the water framework directive. However, those synergies will be exploited only if land management is treated in a holistic way. The CAP reform process represents a real opportunity to develop that approach and for woodlands to play an integrated role with agriculture.

The noble Baroness, Lady Quin, and others referred to Professor Read's report, which showed conclusively that woodland creation is a very cost-effective approach to helping to tackle climate change. The noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, stressed the evidence that Professor Read gave to the committee. As part of the work of the Woodland Carbon Task Force, the Forestry Commission has also commissioned analysis to examine further the returns of investment in different types of woodlands in delivering a range of ecosystem services, including mitigating and adapting to climate change. This will help to focus investment where it will deliver the greatest benefits for the least cost. It is also important to consider the implications for forests when developing and implementing EU directives and other legislation.

The noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, and my noble friend Lord Caithness also asked about support for forestry. I assure them that, as a result of recent controversies, if I may put it that way, we have set up a panel on the public forest estate. The panel will, as the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, will be aware from the terms of reference, range slightly wider than purely the public forest estate, which manages some 18 per cent of our woodlands. It will obviously consider these matters.

We will also always look at what other support forestry needs because, as my noble friend Lord Framlingham made clear in his maiden speech, forestry yields many benefits, not just in carbon retention but in many other public goods, and it provides timber that has uses. For that reason my noble friend Lord Caithness was very anxious to know what we can do to make forestry a profitable and sustainable industry. That might be too big a question to deal with now, but I think we all agree that forestry should be a sustainable and profitable industry for the good of the country in the future.

Monitoring the effects of climate change and the suitability of adaptation actions in the agricultural and forestry sectors will be essential to the development

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of robust and coherent adaptation strategies. Sharing that information at European level will provide added value for member states to develop their own programmes.

The noble Lord, Lord Cameron, and the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, stressed the importance of water and water quality and possible future problems in dealing with water shortages, not just in parts of the United Kingdom but throughout the world. I was very grateful for what the noble Lord said about making much more efficient use of water. We shall certainly continue to support research into improving water efficiency. I can give an assurance that quite a lot of work is going on in Defra in that respect. He is certainly right to talk about the problems that face us. We will also continue to discuss these matters, as we did only yesterday or the day before, with our water stakeholders' forum. That was built around the water framework directive.

I have a brief comment to make about the remarks from the noble Lord, Lord Taverne, on biotechnology and GM crops, a matter that was addressed by other noble Lords. I can give him an assurance that the United Kingdom has worked towards finding a solution, with the Commission, to the low-level presence of non-approved GM in feed imports. That will certainly reduce the threat to feed suppliers bringing in food that might otherwise be contaminated, if that is the right word. We recognise that GM is, dare I say, a controversial issue and as the noble Lord made clear when he commented on Lord Melchett's comments, it can be somewhat polarised. We believe that the argument should be based on the existing science and evidence; we will always make our decisions on scientific evidence for the future. I am sure that in the long run, once we have achieved a consensus on these matters, it will be right to go forward in a direction that will help to feed the world in the future.

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I end by thanking the committee for its work. We look forward to future reports that the committee will bring forward. I can assure the House that the Government are committed to assisting agriculture and forestry in every possible way to adapt to climate change, and I can give an assurance that we shall continue to work with our domestic, European and international partners to achieve that end.

6.04 pm

Baroness Sharp of Guildford: My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have participated in the debate and, in particular, join others in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Framlingham, on his excellent and very amusing maiden speech. Like the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, I shall treasure his words that trees are one of the world's blessings. That was one of the themes of our debate. With the exception of my noble friend Lord Caithness, who is somewhat of a sceptic on these things, all noble Lords who have spoken have stressed how vital the subject of the adaptation to and mitigation of climate change in European agriculture is to the future of the planet.

Noble Lords have spoken not only about the CAP but about water and soil management, forestry, research and its applications, and the role of GM technologies in raising productivity. All those issues are relevant and extremely important. I thank noble Lords for bringing them to the attention of the House; and I thank the Minister for his comprehensive response.

It has been a good and wide-ranging debate. With those thanks, I commend the Motion.

Motion agreed.

House adjourned at 6.06 pm.

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