Sir, – Re Carbon food miles: Now we have New Zealand on top of Australia, both the other side of the world, 14,000 and 18,000 miles as the crow flies respectively, and both now with trade agreements and going to be allowed to import agricultural produce.

Well it doesn’t take much to work out that importing food from theses distances is clocking up massive carbon miles, whereas if agriculture in the UK was encouraged to produce more food we could become more self-sufficient reducing global emissions.

In the UK, we only produce approximately 60% of our food requirements, whereas 40 years ago it was 80%. What on earth has happened!

The government seem disinterested in agriculture and horticulture, and more in elms. Ok, agriculture can still thrive with an eye to the environment, of course, and with encouragement and good support could increase output as it did after the war. But what we have is disinterest in the year of COP26.

With 40% of our food coming from abroad and set to increase at prices that will be to the cost of home farmers and global warming, many sectors are already being hung out to dry.

We, as a winter sideline, produce kiln-dried hardwood firewood and due to availability of home grown we are now, not by choice, buying a proportion of imported hardwood from Lithuania and other Baltic States. Under strict guidelines of the RHI (the Renewable Heat Incentive) and BSL (the Biomass Suppliers list) we have to record the carbon miles of intake and in the case of imported wood, only from the port of entry!

How daft is this when we only log 23 miles when the timber has travelled from forest to port in the Baltics and then by sea to Grangemouth, being loaded and off loaded four times, probably more than 1700 miles! Is this how the UK is going to achieves targets?

It appears that the host government of COP26 is ignoring imported carbon miles for all imports, be it food or other goods. Self-sufficiency should be the byword to encourage at COP26 and Doug Bell (in The SF) made some very good points in this respect.

International carbon food miles must be accounted for by either the exporter, the importer, or both. COP26 must ensure this. We hear a lot about the carbon footprint of, for example, avocados from Chile, but who actually accounts for the food miles?

Iain Stewart

Gain Farm,