skip to content

Centre for Landscape Regeneration

 

Announcement: 16th January 2024

The Centre for Landscape (CLR) at the University of Cambridge is part of trans-disciplinary hub looking to bridge the gap between science and policy to achieve Net Zero.

 

  • We are a member of a winning consortium of 34 organisations, co-led led by The James Hutton Institute and the University of Leicester, awarded a £6.5m government grant to establish a ‘Land Use for Net Zero’ (LUNZ) Hub.

  • The LUNZ Hub aims to provide all four UK administrations with the rapid evidence around land use, from renewable energy to soil carbon and green finance, that they need to develop policies that will drive the UK land transformation required to achieve Net Zero by 2050.

  • Consortium includes experts from research, farming and industry across issues including green finance, renewable energy, planning, soil health, afforestation and water management.

  • The announcement comes as the LUNZ hub is launched at an event in Leicester on 16th January 2024, attended by colleagues from the CLR.

 

More details can be found here: https://www.ukri.org/news/major-investment-transforms-land-use-to-boost-uks-net-zero-drive/


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.

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.  

Agriculture and land use have a major impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as a wide range of other environmental, societal and economic outcomes, but progress towards decarbonisation is lagging behind other sectors.  

The declaration recently announced at COP28 on sustainable agriculture, resilient food systems and climate action states the UK government’s intent to act on land use and climate change by increasing public financial support and scaling science-based solutions, and LUNZ will be a key conduit for these actions.

Achieving the transformational change in land management needed will depend on government access to world-class research and innovation and a novel approach to collaboration across a variety of critical stakeholders.


Hub co-lead, Professor Lee-Ann Sutherland from 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." 

“Our Consortium has developed a series of innovative mechanisms to do just that – an Agile Policy Centre, Net Zero Futures Platform, and Creative Methods Lab – each tailored to generate clear, robust answers to urgent questions.”

Stakeholder participation in the Hub is vital, as Hub Co-lead, Professor Heiko Balzter (University of Leicester), explained:

“Creating a fair, realistic path to Net Zero in the land use sector can only be achieved with the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders throughout the process– to provide their expertise, share the Hub’s outputs and ensure its proposals work in practice as well as theory.  

“Our consortium reflects this – ranging from those at the cutting edge of climate change modelling to farmers groups, advisory organisations, non-governmental organisations and an arts collective.  Their range and profile will ensure the Hub’s impact extends throughout society – so everyone can engage in land use transformation – from the food they buy to their holiday, housing and investment decisions.”


At the heart of the challenge is understanding how transformative change can be achieved and predicting the impact of proposed approaches against multiple environmental, societal and economic outcomes. 

 

A central strand of the Hub’s approach will be the development of plausible and innovative net zero scenarios and associated pathways – novel tools based on advanced modelling methodologies that can predict the impacts of different policy interventions across a variety of metrics.


 

Editor’s Notes

 

  • The 'net zero target' refers to a UK government commitment to ensure the UK reduces its greenhouse gas emissions by 100% from 1990 levels by 2050. If met, this would mean the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the UK would be equal to or less than the emissions removed by the UK from the environment. (House of Lords Library)

  • The LUNZ Hub is part of the overall ‘Transforming land use for net zero, nature and people (LUNZ)’ Programme which aims to mobilise and support research that works in partnership with all the administrations of the UK, and industry, to tackle net zero through action in the UK land sector.

  • Alongside the Hub, the LUNZ programme will fund research that feeds directly into policy and decision-making in three interlinked themes: soil health, agricultural systems and land use change.

  • The Hub is co-funded by UKRI, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (on behalf of England and Wales), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, and the Scottish Government. It has been co-designed with Defra and the Welsh and Scottish governments.  

  • The LUNZ Hub is funded for 40 months, starting 1 November 2023.

 


For further inquiries, please contact:

clr_admin@plantsci.cam.ac.uk.

For more general information or to organise an interview contact LUNZ head of communications:

Matthew Orman or Theo Heaton-Davies