Farming needs to go back to old-fashioned methods to help the environment, the Prime Minister’s father has said, as he takes on a new climate change role.
Stanley Johnson is today announcing that he is the new International Ambassador for the Conservative Environment Network (CEN).
The author has long been a campaigner on green issues, and is a passionate advocate of “rewilding”, recently visiting some reintroduced bears in Italy.
He is expected to lobby for wilder farming at the major climate change conference COP26, scheduled to take place in Glasgow this summer.
Mr Johnson, a passionate rewilder, told The Telegraph about his vision of farming, explaining: “It’s not rewilding as such but going back to methods of farming which are very much the way things were. Rain fed agriculture, grass fed agriculture, even not ploughing up. You may gain more in carbon terms from doing that than from planting a load of trees.
“There is an absolute need for a change in the farming system in Britain and as we come out of the EU that’s an amazing way to do that. I have just agreed to be the international ambassador for the Conservative Environmental Network. We are going to be focusing on the Climate Change Conference. It’s an honourary assignment of course I’m not going to ask to be paid at my age!”
His son, Boris Johnson, currently has no plans to ban intensive farming and force farmers to go back to ancient methods, though the government is bringing in a payments scheme for farms which use their land to improve the environment.
One matter father and son seem to find consensus on is that of beavers. Boris Johnson is understood to have put in place the procurement of the rodents for his father’s land for his birthday.
However, Stanley said that he has tried to make his land suitable for the rewilded creatures, but it has been a struggle, and he wants to be allowed to release them on the river running through his Exmoor estate. However, this is not allowed under current rules, in place to prevent the animals running amok.
He is pushing for his son to get the government to publish its National Beaver Strategy to enable them to be let loose up and down England’s waterways.
He told The Telegraph: “Beavers have been put on hold at the moment because of coronavirus, but I need to think about how I am going to do it. You have the pen, a biggish pen covering a couple of acres and some running water, you could just make a pond. I need to be very careful because the pond could dry up or the whole place could flood and they could be washed away down the river and I’d get in trouble. Of course I have the river, but they can’t be released there until we have a National Beaver Policy!”