A recent report by the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) predicts warming will hit the UK harder than originally thought. It is likely that the intensity of heatwaves and rainfall will cause damage to homes, infrastructures, and services, with the CCC stressing that not enough is being done by the Government to climate-proof the UK, despite warnings.
Farming in the UK is likely to be hit hard by worsening weather conditions. 2020 saw the worst harvest on record for around 25 years, due to bad weather. Unpredictable and extreme events dramatically affect yields and cause many thousands of pounds worth of loss both for the farmer, consumers, and in food waste.
People are seeing the effects of extreme weather in other countries too, with heatwaves in Canada destroying fruit crops. Climate disasters in other countries can also affect the UK's supply chains. Britain imports just under half of all food consumed and over 75% of fruit and vegetables. This means that the UK's food security is left vulnerable if weather events affect crops overseas or travel via sea or sky.
Not enough is being done to protect farmers and the food supply in the UK. Investment in controlled environment agriculture including vertical farms and greenhouses in the UK on a variety of scales could secure harvests all year round, whilst also providing predictable income for those growing.
Government policy that approves, encourages, and incentivizes indoor farming technologies should be key to future-proofing agriculture in the UK. The benefits that indoor farming could bring to food security and environmental footprint could be realized much sooner with action to incorporate this technology into the UK’s farming standards, initiatives, and legislation.