Introducing a more widely applied carbon tax would have a significant impact on the rural sector, in particular livestock businesses. This is likely to renew the debate over the industry’s ability to measure and take account of the emissions variability between production systems, and the ongoing controversy over the metrics used to measure the global warming impact of emissions from livestock.
However, the fact that the government is working on plans for tighter emissions regulations comes as no surprise given the substantial policy gap the UK is facing in reaching its 2050 net zero emissions target.
In any event, any taxation proposals must now undergo sector-wide consultation and their impact (and any unintended consequences) be clearly assessed. An ambitious plan for the UK could be announced ahead of COP26, the United Nations’ climate change conference, which the government is hosting in Glasgow this November. The Prime Minister may then use the event to try and persuade other countries to match the UK’s action.
Rhydian Scurlock-Jones, head of rural at Savills in Telford