Major research investment into national land use transformation to help the UK achieve net zero

Professor Ian Bateman OBE and Dr Chris Lee, of the Land Use for Net Zero Research Programme in Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP) at the University of Exeter Business School, are part of a transdisciplinary hub looking to bridge the gap between science and policy to achieve net zero.

A first-of-its-kind consortium of 34 leading research and stakeholder organisations has been established to help all four UK administrations address land use and agriculture as a major greenhouse gas emitting sector.

The Land Use for Net Zero (LUNZ) Hub, co-led led by The James Hutton Institute and the University of Leicester, with £6.5 million funding from UK Research and Innovation, will provide UK and devolved nations timely evidence around land use, from renewable energy to soil carbon and green finance, to help drive the land transformations needed to achieve net zero by 2050.

It will also play a pivotal role in helping to communicate more widely the critical importance of land and how it’s used as a major carbon sink or source.
The consortium includes experts from research, policy, farming and industry across green finance, renewable energy, planning, soil health, afforestation and water management.

Professor Bateman said:
“Emissions from the food system, greenhouse gas removal through forestry and decarbonisation from renewable energy places land use at the centre of net zero strategies. But decision-makers need rapid high-quality information to shape policy and the LUNZ Hub is the much-needed centrepin for such advice.”

Hub co-lead of the winning Consortium, Professor Lee-Ann Sutherland (The James Hutton Institute), explained:
“The science behind land use is highly complex. It is influenced by a range of economic, social and environmental factors, and complicated further by a changing evidence base, novel market forces, the emergence of new data and models, and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence. Our aim is to bridge the gap between researchers and policy makers and our work will be focused on meeting specific policy-maker needs, giving them the evidence they need in the format and timeframe they need it.

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