A Yorkshire voice in policy development

Two Yorkshire MPs are keen to hear more from iCASP Partners who are achieving collaborative land management to combat climate change and flooding.


MPs and event organisers at Howe Syke Farm, Bishopdale. Photo Credit: Malcolm Warne


Local MPs Julian Sturdy (York Outer) and Rishi Sunak (Richmond) met with environmental organisations, land managers and farmers in Leyburn, Yorkshire Dales last week. Presentations and tours by iCASP Partners demonstrated the benefits for farmers, communities at risk of flooding, and wildlife when peatland is restored and natural flood management techniques are used.

After presentations, including one from iCASP’s Director, Joe Holden, the MPs agreed to champion work happening in Yorkshire so that other parts of the UK get to hear about it. This level of engagement is timely as the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, sets out plans to divert current agricultural payments so that public money pays for public goods.

Photo credit: Susan Ballard

During a tour of Howe Syke Farm, iCASP’s Impact Translation Fellow, Richard Grayson, was part of a group being shown buffer strips and areas of new tree planting. iCASP will be advising on and helping to measure the effectiveness of such measures in a set of pilot projects funded by Defra.

Photo credit: Joanna Richards

Another iCASP project, Optimising Peatland Restoration, will be able to facilitate the use of scientific evidence that can help further the work of storing carbon in blanket bogs – described as the UK’s very own “rainforest”.

Initiatives such as the Peatland Code, developed by iCASP Partner IUCN UK Peatland Programme, provides a mechanism for businesses to ‘buy’ the carbon emissions saved through restoring and managing this national asset. York Outer MP, Julian Sturdy, was particularly keen to see “business offset their carbon in the UK rather than looking abroad.” If this idea takes off, science could have an important role in providing the reassurance that investors need.