Jersey farmer says tree farming can safeguard the future of industry and help combat climate change

A Jersey farmer says tree nurseries could be the future of the island's farming industry and a way to tackle the global climate crisis.

Robin Waymouth is growing over 180,000 English oak trees, which he says could be exported to other countries to help them meet their carbon reduction targets.

A key part of the UK's pact in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is to plant 30,000 hectares of woodland every year by 2020 - and Robin believes Jersey's land is ideal to support to this scheme.

"We have an industry in distress," says Robin.

"We're living on a natural nursery in this island - we could grow these trees so easily and as a rotation crop for our existing Jersey Royal potatoes."

The suggestion comes after a difficult few years for Jersey's farming industry.

"We have had to reduce area, the rising cost - inflation - has made it really difficult for the local farming base," says potato grower Nigel Holliday.

"In terms of natural demand we're probably running at about twenty per cent less export from the island."

The States of Jersey have emphasised the importance of avoiding unintended consequences to the island's habitat.

"To flip small parcels of land to longer term woodland I think is a great idea," says Scott Meadows, Jersey's head of biosecurity.

"And I think some people will probably be receptive to that - but the biodiversity risk needs to be borne in mind as well as we move this stock about."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...