Wiltshire draft climate strategy 2022-2027. August 2021
Natural Environment, Food and Farming
A healthy natural environment provides ecosystem services for people, wildlife and the economy, including absorbing carbon dioxide (see diagram).
Nature-based solutions alongside technical measures can help us adapt and be resilient to climate change.
The food production system in the UK accounts for around 20% of national greenhouse gas emissions. The recent National Food Strategy looks at solving the problem of producing enough food while simultaneously restoring nature and absorbing carbon.
- Efficient and environmentally sensitive use of land, providing for the needs of an increasing population and nature: - food production, renewable energy generation, housing and transport, alongside woodland creation and nature recovery.
- Absorbing carbon, by plants and well-managed soils
- Sustainable, low-carbon food and farming systems
- Protect and extend our network of green spaces and land and water habitats. Make best use of this network of green and blue spaces for biodiversity, active travel, recreation, cooling, shade and absorbing carbon
- Natural water management - reducing flood risk and summer droughts.
It will be important to value the historic, cultural and working environment that makes Wiltshire special and gives us a sense of place and identity, while making room for new solutions which may create change in our landscape and settlements.
Our areas of focus
Wiltshire Council will:
! Support the roll out of the Community Environmental Toolkit
! Consult on a Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy for Wiltshire, to be a framework for partnership working
! Plant trees and create other suitable habitats on council land where appropriate
! Develop Wiltshire Council Tree and Woodland Planting Strategy to establish targets and advice on planting the right tree in the right place
- Update the Wiltshire Council Climate Change Adaptation Plan
Using our influence and partnerships we will:
- Work with Wiltshire stakeholders, communities and farmers on ways to reduce emissions from food and farming. Encourage and support landowners and farmers in improving soil health, water quality, woodland and other habitat creation, renewable energy and regenerative practices
- Support landowners and community groups to enhance their green infrastructure
- Be informed by Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership's research to measure natural capital and use it to inform decision-making
- Recognise the role canal and river trusts play in natural flood management of our river catchments and biodiversity, and explore the potential of the canals for active travel and renewable energy generation.
Climate change is making it more important than ever to protect and enhance biodiversity, habitats and soil health. While some councils have declared an 'ecological emergency' Wiltshire Council is responding through its emerging Wiltshire Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy, which will establish shared goals and aspirations. In partnership with stakeholders, delivery will include nature recovery plans, tree and woodland planting and integrated water catchment management.
One thing you can do: peat acts as a carbon store, but damage to peatlands is leading to loss of carbon and habitat so use peat free compost in your garden, or why not try making your own, using a food waste composter?