Bridgette Baker: Ed Sheeran’s rewilding plans are off key

“We aren’t fans of Ed Sheeran anymore,” Dad said, over our morning cup of tea.

The musician, it seems, has joined the rewilding bandwagon, declaring he is going to “rewild as much of the UK as I can”.

It shouldn’t have to be trees instead of farming to combat climate change.

Obviously, my perspective is that of a farmer and that’s hard to switch off, but our priorities for land use in the UK should have farming at their core.

About the author

Bridgette Baker
Somerset young farmer Bridgette Baker hails from a mixed beef and arable farm near Yeovil, and studies agriculture at the Royal Agricultural University. An enthusiastic member of her local Young Farmers Club, Bridgette keeps her own Oxford Sandy and Black pigs and works her family’s farm rearing calves.
Read more articles by Bridgette Baker

Mixed farming or regenerative agriculture should be our answer.

See also: Bridgette Baker – ploughing match good for community spirit 

At university, we had an assessment to critique the NFU’s “Achieving Net Zero: Farming’s 2040 goal”, which taught me about its plans to achieve net zero while still producing food.

It’s tough because there are choices and compromises to be made.

We could fail to reach net zero by 2040 because we’re making sure we can produce enough food for our country.

But that could still be better for our planet – as the UK wouldn’t have to import so much food from countries that are not committed to a net-zero goal.

We can put high-standard British produce first, yet still have our carbon sink in terms of hedgerows, grass leys and stubble grazing.

Defra’s exit strategy for older farmers to leave their farms with the proposed intention of helping new entrants could be opening up land for companies or celebrities to do their carbon offsetting.

But it’s important they understand the alternatives to rewilding (as well as perhaps giving opportunities to tenant farmers).

Farms are becoming like Land Rovers – so expensive that wealthy people, such as celebrities, who want them can buy them, but people who need them can’t afford to.

It is good Ed Sheeran is conscious of the impact of his travelling.

But I hope he talks to knowledgeable farming advisers about how he can help our industry reach the 2040 net-zero goal – rather than turning a blind eye to us and taking much-needed agricultural land out of production.

Maybe he could be open to an approach of rewilding integrated with farming.