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Farmers blast Ed Sheeran’s ‘well-meaning’ plan to ‘re-wild as much of UK as he can’

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According to Welsh farmers, Ed Sheeran’s plans to bring the UK back to life by buying farmland and planting trees would compromise Britain’s ability to produce its own food and lead to more carbon emissions.

The 30-year-old singer-songwriter recently revealed his intention to plant “as many trees as possible” in an effort to offset his massive carbon footprint after years of world touring and jet-setting.

But farmers in Wales have said Sheeran’s plan to buy farmland for re-weaning would occupy valuable soil needed to grow produce at home and ultimately result in more carbon emissions due to increased food imports.

They also argued that members of rural communities would lose vital jobs, while families who have farmed the land for generations would be displaced.

It comes as government plans to boost biodiversity in Britain have encountered similar criticism from farmers saying it is more important to ensure sustainable food production.

Ed Sheeran, 30, recently revealed his plans to plant

Ed Sheeran, 30, recently revealed his intention to plant ‘as many trees as possible’ in a bid to offset his massive carbon footprint after years of world touring and jet-set (Sheeran pictured at Glastonbury in 2017)

Farmers in Wales said Sheeran's plan to buy farmland for rewilding would occupy valuable soil needed to grow produce at home, and ultimately lead to further carbon emissions due to increased food imports (photo: farmland in South Wales)

Farmers in Wales said Sheeran’s plan to buy farmland for rewilding would occupy valuable soil needed to grow produce at home, and ultimately lead to further carbon emissions due to increased food imports (photo: farmland in South Wales)

Sheeran opened up about his desire to offset his carbon footprint in a recent interview with BBC Radio London.

“I’m trying to rewild as much of the UK as possible. I love my riding and I love the wildlife and the environment, ”he said.

“I feel like I’m going to get my head bitten every time I say this because my job is not an extremely sustainable job because I’m going to play in the cities, but I’m doing my best.”

Sheeran’s comments were appreciated by many who applauded the singer’s good intentions, but others argued the plan would do more harm than good.

Abi Reader, a Welsh farmer and chairman of the milk board of NFU Cymru, said Sheeran’s intentions, while well-intentioned, could actually increase carbon emissions and damage rural communities by occupying vital land needed for production. food.

“This will ultimately lead to increased food imports to fill the gap – how then can we ensure its carbon credentials, safety and working conditions?” she said.

“If you take a single family farm out of production – because trees don’t create jobs – we further depopulate already fragile rural communities and the services they depend on. “

Some social media users have accused Sheeran of jumping on the sustainability bandwagon, with a Carmarthenshire farmer claiming that “panic decisions made by wealthy, overpaid celebrities with a guilty conscience with money to burn and fans to be impressed can do a lot of irreversible damage to our fertile and food land.

Sheeran has already started farming his 16-acre estate in Suffolk (pictured), having created a 'wildlife meadow' on his farm, complete with a sizable pond, beehive and several new trees.

Sheeran has already started farming his 16-acre estate in Suffolk (pictured), having created a ‘wildlife meadow’ on his farm, complete with a sizable pond, beehive and several new trees.

But others argued that it would be better to educate celebrities because their influence could go a long way in raising funds and taking action in the right places.

One breeder said, “Let’s put him aside so he can positively influence his 17 million followers.”

Sheeran has already started farming his 16-acre estate in Suffolk, having created a ‘wildlife meadow’ on his farm, complete with a sizable pond, beehive and several new trees.

Meanwhile, a government program due to be announced this week that will pay farmers to create new habitat in an attempt to reduce biodiversity decline has been the subject of criticism similar to those leveled at Sheeran.

Environment Secretary George Eustice is expected to announce this week that farmers and landowners from 500 to 5,000 hectares will be able to apply for funding to plant trees and restore peat and wetland areas under the new local nature recovery program.

Environment Secretary George Eustice (pictured) will unveil plans for land management programs that aim to boost Britain's biodiversity this week

Environment Secretary George Eustice (pictured) will unveil plans for land management programs that aim to boost Britain’s biodiversity this week

Ministers believe the reforms will play an important role in the government’s push to increase biodiversity on Britain’s coasts, reduce the decline of British species by 2030 and restore up to 300,000 hectares of habitat for by 2040.

But National Farming Union vice-president Tom Bradshaw said: “We have always cautiously welcomed the policy of public money for public goods, but it should not just focus on protecting the environment. and must underpin truly sustainable food production.

“My biggest fear would be that if this policy results in reduced food production in the UK and we just import from countries with lower standards, we may end up living in a green oasis here, but we have just relocated our production and all the environmental impacts that go with it – it’s morally incomprehensible. ‘

Some fear the plans are too focused on freeing land for rewilding instead of supporting UK food production.  National Farming Union Vice President Tom Bradshaw said:

Some fear the plans are too focused on freeing land for rewilding instead of supporting UK food production. National Farming Union Vice President Tom Bradshaw said: “If this policy results in reduced food production in the UK and we just import from countries with lower standards, we have just relocated our production and any impact environment that accompanies it “.

Speaking ahead of this week’s conference, Mr Eustice said: “Successful and profitable agricultural production is crucial for our food security.

“We face challenges on issues such as biodiversity loss and climate change, so we must use our freedom in relation to the EU’s common agricultural policy [CAP] establish a new system of rewards and incentives in agriculture.

“Our new policies will support the choices individual farmers make, with the freedom to choose what things work for them.”

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