One of the nation’s biggest landowners, the National Trust, is urging the Government to invest in natural climate solutions, following an audit of the effects of climate change on its best places for nature. The conservation charity is calling for ‘immediate and common-sense actions’ that can cut emissions, restore nature and provide benefits to wildlife and people, including banning horticultural peat and increasing tree cover.
On Thursday, the Committee on Climate Change said transformation in land use is needed if the Government is to reach its net zero goal by 2050. The Trust is today (Friday 24/1) warning that three quarters of its priority habitats are under threat and already showing signs of the impacts of rising temperatures and more frequent extreme weather events such as drought and flooding.
On analysing 101,000 hectares of priority habitat across England, Wales and Northern Ireland the Trust discovered that 73 per cent of the land, ranging from upland oak woods to globally-rare peatland, was deemed sensitive or highly sensitive to increasingly turbulent weather events, rising seas and accelerating temperatures.
Half of all National Trust properties have habitats that are sensitive to climate change, according to the report. The worst affected habitats were those on the coast, but also included rivers, lakes, lowland fens and upland habitats like heathlands.