Climate Change and Rural Affairs Secretary Huw Irranca-Davies has been ‘out in the field’ in Gwynedd learning about a world-leading Welsh Government programme.

The programme is responsible for evidence which support policies relating to sustainable food production, mitigating climate change and halt the decline in biodiversity.

Huw Irranca-Davies got to see first-hand the work of the Environment and Rural Affairs Monitoring and Modelling Programme (ERAMMP) on a visit to the Henfaes Research Centre near Bangor last week.

ERAMMP is unique in that it collects vast amounts of data from across the Welsh landscape, which is used to identify long-term environmental trends and models change and future impact.

Data captured includes, soils, habitats, birds, pollinators, headwater streams, ponds, historic environment features and public rights of way.

This evidence and insight help build social, economic, and environmental resilience to ensure Wales is prepared for future generations.

Cabinet Secretary Huw Irranca-Davies said: “I was fascinated to see how ERAMMP monitoring and modelling works and I look forward to receiving evidence products over the coming months, which are critical to policies in my portfolio.

“It’s essential the Welsh Government has access to the best available evidence and science.

“I really appreciate the work undertaken by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) over the last 10 years to support Welsh Government environmental policy including the areas of land use, climate change and biodiversity.”

During the visit the Cabinet Secretary went out into the field to see how the monitoring programme works and was shown how measurements are taken.

He also heard about the opportunities and limitations of carbon capture in soil.

To ensure colleagues developing the Sustainable Land Management policy have the best and most up to date evidence ERAMMP was commissioned in 2019 to bring together a group of world leading soil and climate scientists, including members of the International Panel on Climate Change which was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2007.

Together they have identified actions which lead to soil sequestering carbon and quantify the potential for soil carbon sequestration to contribute to the Welsh agriculture and land-use sector reaching Net Zero.

The authors concluded that if the actions identified were adopted across all soils in Wales sequestration of carbon into the soil would offset a maximum of 5-10 per cent of Welsh agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

Professor Bridget Emmett OBE, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology lead of ERAMMP said: “We welcome the major commitment the Welsh Government has made over the last ten years to funding long term integrated monitoring, expert review and modelling work by the ERAMMP team.

“Working with our partners we are proud to have helped develop a robust scientific platform to help inform policy development and assessment in Wales.”