New report fills critical knowledge gaps regarding UK soil sequestration potential

On 5th January 2022 at the Oxford Farming Conference, the Green Alliance presented their new report The opportunities of agri-carbon markets: A summary - led by the Green Alliance and researchers from Manchester University and SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College), in partnership with Tesco and WWF. The report highlights the benefits of working within the food supply chain to reduce emissions and sequester carbon and the need for strong standards, including a UK Farm Soil Carbon Code (UKFSCC) to ensure carbon is accurately measured and safely stored. 

Prof Mark Reed from SRUC, co-author of the report and member of the UKFSCC Consortium said: 

“So far, opportunities to store carbon in agricultural soils have been largely overlooked in UK net zero policy. This is due to concerns about the scale and permanence of the opportunity, and mixed evidence for the effectiveness of some regenerative farming practices in building soil carbon. 

This is a challenging area, given the range of farm and soil types, and other factors that mean different farms get different outcomes from the same intervention.That’s why this report is so important – we’re reviewing systematic reviews and meta-analyses that have looked across multiple studies, to understand which soil carbon interventions have the strongest evidence base. 

We are then feeding this evidence into the development of the UK Farm Soil Carbon Code, which will enable farmers and their customers to benefit from carbon markets for changes they make to their farming practices that sequester and store carbon. Working with this team, we are looking at how other countries are facilitating soil carbon markets and overcoming issues like permanence. 

Our recommendations focus on what is possible now, and what could be done to responsibly develop soil carbon markets in the UK, giving confidence to farmers, project developers and investors that the work farmers do leads to clear climate benefits and rewards those who deliver them.”

Sign up to receive SSA news, reports and updates.
The SSA is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. We decided not to set up a charity because that would limit some activities such as campaigning on government policies. With a not-for-profit company the directors don’t benefit from profits and money raised is spent on company aims.