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More must be done to stop and reverse climate change, Suffolk farmers told

PUBLISHED: 17:08 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:09 23 November 2018

Suffolk FWAG awards: Jeannette Dennis, Steve Podd, Tony Juniper, Anna Beames, Robert Honeywood, Susie Sloane and Chris Flatt  Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

Suffolk FWAG awards: Jeannette Dennis, Steve Podd, Tony Juniper, Anna Beames, Robert Honeywood, Susie Sloane and Chris Flatt Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

Archant

What we are doing to stem and reverse catastrophic changes caused by climate change is ‘not good enough by a long way’, a leading environmentalist warned Suffolk farmers this week.

Steve Podd speaking about the county's landscapes at the Suffolk FWAG awards evening on November 19  Picture: SARAH CHAMBERSSteve Podd speaking about the county's landscapes at the Suffolk FWAG awards evening on November 19 Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

Writer and campaigner Tony Juniper, who was guest speaker at farm conservation group Suffolk FWAG’s annual awards event, laid out what he described as “some really quite terrifying” facts around the issue, much already contained in government reports.

A 1.5C rise in global warming - which is already on the cards - would devastate vast swathes of coral reef, while a 2C rise would almost destroy them completely, he warned. “These are major changes linked to the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” he said. “What we are doing is simply not good enough, not by a long way.”

Society was founded on natural capital and, with policy about to change due to our exit from the European Union, it would be up to the UK to decide whether it would be a country which excelled in conservation or become a low tax, low standards haven.

“Humankind is going to have to stop and reverse these particular trends,” he said.

Environmentalist Tony Juniper at the Suffolk FWAG awards evening on November 19  Picture: SARAH CHAMBERSEnvironmentalist Tony Juniper at the Suffolk FWAG awards evening on November 19 Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

“We now have a moment to reflect and to decide what’s going to be the future. One wonders what it’s going to take to move people into this phase of thinking but I think we have got reason to be optimistic.”

The loss of topsoils, visible from space, was a major area to be tackled, he said.

The event, sponsored by Ashtons Legal, which took place at Trinity Park, Ipswich, also included a speech by Suffolk FWAG’s Steve Podd on Suffolk’s rich and diverse landscapes, and by chief executive Anna Beames who highlighted the crucial role the organisation should play as the government works out how to reward farmers with ‘public money for public goods’ as set out in environment secretary Michael Gove’s vision for the future of the industry, and his Agriculture Bill.

Two outstanding examples of conservation-minded farming were rewarded for their efforts at the event.

Jeanette Dennis of Ashtons Legal presenting the silver lapwing award to Robert Honeywood of Halls Farm, who received on behalf of son, Stephen, at the Suffolk FWAG awards  Picture: SARAH CHAMBERSJeanette Dennis of Ashtons Legal presenting the silver lapwing award to Robert Honeywood of Halls Farm, who received on behalf of son, Stephen, at the Suffolk FWAG awards Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

The Tim Sloane award went to mixed arable and beef farm, Ash Farm Partners, based at Ash Farm, All Saints, Halesworth, and was accepted by Chris Flatt, who farms with father, John. Robert Honeywood, of Hall Farm, Norton, Bury St Edmunds, accepted the Suffolk FWAG silver lapwing trophy on behalf of son, Stephen.

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