How companies like Heathrow may be misguidedly covering farmland in…

how-companies-like-heathrow-may-be-misguidedly-covering-farmland-in…

How companies like Heathrow may be misguidedly covering farmland in…

How companies like Heathrow may be misguidedly covering farmland in trees, as “carbon offsets”
2022-08-11 14:13:00
Many companies are attempting to claim they are “offsetting” their current carbon emissions, by paying for ways in which the carbon can be removed from the atmosphere, or future carbon emissions by others can be prevented. What is actually needed, to prevent an increase in global atmospheric CO2 in the next few years, is NOT to emit the carbon. Hoping it can be removed in future is deeply unsatisfactory. But companies like Heathrow have been buying up “offsets” from planting trees, in the hope that – in 3 or more decades – they will have removed some CO2 from the air. But the problem is that many of these tree planting schemes are buying up existing farmland, or land with other uses, in order to plant these “offset” plantations. Many farmers and those with agricultural land are dismayed and angry. Sometimes other land then has to be used for agriculture, to replace the land taken by offset companies – so little overall benefit.  Heathrow said (Feb 2020) it will offset “the remaining 7% of infrastructure emissions through tree-planting projects in Indonesia and Mexico that will be certified through the Verified Carbon Standard.” And in 2020 it would “funnel £1.8m of new investment on nature-based carbon capture solutions in the UK. ” eg. 87.4 hectares in Ullapool in Scotland, “will benefit from a native woodland creation project part-funded by Heathrow. In partnership with Forest Carbon.” .Tweet     How Britain’s farms are being devastated by corporate giants covering up their carbon footprint – by planting millions of trees on fields grazed by sheep for centuries By HARRIET DENNYS FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY 6 August 2022 Steeped in the rural traditions that have sustained their families for generations, Ian and Rhiannon O’Connor have long dreamed of owning their own farm. Like many of those who came before them, the couple planned to raise sheep and cattle on the rolling pastureland of Carmarthenshire – a worthwhile ambition, you might think, with Britain’s food supplies under ever-growing pressure, prices rising rapidly and farmers warning of a looming catastrophe. Sadly, there has been no happy ending for Ian, Rhiannon and their three small children. Their attempt to buy 260 acres at Frongoch Farm came to nothing when they were outbid, not by fellow farmers, but by a giant private equity firm based 160 miles away in the City of London. A firm that intends to cover the farm with nothing more edible than trees. Up and down Britain, the price of agricultural land is soaring as financiers and corporations attempt to ‘offset’ their carbon emissions by snapping up farmland and covering it with forest to soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. From Yorkshire to Shropshire, Somerset and Devon, farmers and land agents report that farm after farm has been converted to woodland at the behest of major companies, charities, wealthy landowners and celebrities. Sadly, there has been no happy ending for Ian, Rhiannon and their three small children. Their attempt to buy 260 acres at Frongoch Farm came to nothing when they were outbid, not by fellow farmers, but by a giant private equity firm based 160 miles away in the City of London This is on top of other environmental projects such as ‘rewilding’, which are also eating into Britain’s capacity to grow food. Heathrow Airport, Marks & Spencer, lingerie brand Ann Summers, funeral provider Dignitas and High Street bank TSB have all backed tree-planting schemes to compensate for the pollution they cause. Music label Universal – home to Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones – is planting trees on sheep pasture in Cumbria. And singer Ed Sheeran has announced plans to convert tracts of land to forestry to make up for his jet-setting. Even the Church of England, with its giant £9.2billion investment fund, and the Labour Party are keen to signal their virtue by investing in woodland. As for the old-fashioned business of producing food – it scarcely gets a look-in, as Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union, revealed in The Mail on Sunday last week. ‘In this country, we have prime conditions to produce food,’ she wrote. ‘Yet, astonishingly, no government has delivered a clear plan to ensure we maintain even the volumes of food we are currently producing. ‘What we have had are plans to take more farmland away from production, to plant trees and provide homes for beavers. Why on earth do we not take food security as seriously as energy security?’ Britain, she says, now faces a terrifying problem – a ‘food apocalypse’. For the O’Connors, and those like them, the reality is a growing disaster here and now, with the viability of communities at stake. Forestry and ‘rewilding’ employ comparatively few people. It is not lost on the O’Connors that the firm which outbid them to buy Frongoch Farm, the Foresight Group, is based a world away from rural Britain in London’s futuristic Shard building, the tallest in the country – a veritable tribute to Mammon. Foresight has already acquired a huge portfolio of

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