Dairy Sector Climate Change Group: remit

Remit of this short-life farmer led group established to develop advice and proposal designed to cut emissions and tackle climate change.


The Scottish Government has committed to take action on climate change with legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also has committed to contributing towards biodiversity targets.

It is important that agricultural businesses play their part in achieving these objectives. The Scottish government acknowledges that many farmers will need to adapt their farming practices.  To do so means they may need to access appropriate support to improve their environmental performance, whilst maintaining  quality food production and the associated economic benefits the Scottish food and drink sector brings to Scotland.

This Group will consider practical measures and support mechanisms which will help the dairy sector achieve:

  • improved efficiency, productivity and profitability for the dairy sector in Scotland
  • enhanced environmental contribution from the sector through identification of practical ways in which net greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy sector can be reduced
  • mitigation of other environmental impacts of production and enhancing contribution to sustainable agriculture and land use including fertility, breeding and genetics and animal nutrition as well as  soil health and grass land management

The group may wish to review the outputs from all or some of the other farmer-led groups including any proposed  framework and management options. It should consider whether or not it would be appropriate for the dairy sector to adapt an existing scheme in whole or part and whether a new or additional scheme should be considered for the dairy sector.

The group should consider the financial implications and deliverability of its proposals and consider the timespan over which any proposals should be implemented. These should build on existing regulatory requirements and accepted good industry practice.

The group should consult as widely as is feasible in the time given. It should take advice from specialists and academics where necessary and consult with Scottish Government policy teams about deliverability and the complexity of measures proposed.


The Group will develop proposals for the sector taking account of production and marketing based improvements. This will focus on a number of areas including but not limited to sustainable management practices such as: 

  • slurry and manure management
  • grassland management
  • soil improvement and health
  • energy use
  • precision farming and use of technology
  • production based improvements including nutrition, breeding, fertility, animal health and fertiliser use

It will also include baseline and ongoing data collection and measures of progress such as:

  • carbon audits and action plans;
  • biodiversity scoring and monitoring

As well as: 

  • scope for increased efficiencies
  • role of dairy beef as a subsector
  • carbon sequestration
  • potential requirement for capital investment/improvements
  • deliverability and monitoring of measures
  • supply chain improvements encouraging producer groups with the potential to improve market development
  • Farm Assurance and market driven incentives

The Group may also offer advice regards the costs of the necessary actions and how these might be met, with an estimate of the budgetary implications of any support measures that might be required to be introduced.

The Group will provide a report to Scottish Ministers in 2021 setting out its conclusions. This will feed into the Scottish Government’s response to action on the climate change challenge. The report should focus on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the dairy sector while maintaining and improving productivity and efficiencies. It should also make recommendations on what will be required to deliver that including but not limited to any support scheme(s).

Chair, secretariat, membership and ways of working

The Group will be chaired by Jackie McCreery and the Group’s secretariat will be provided by the Scottish Government.

The Group will include a diverse range of representatives from across the sector with suitable experience and skill.

All members of the Group will be required to register their interests.

Group members

  • Jackie McCreery (Chair)
  • Thomas Cameron
  • David Campbell
  • Rory Christie
  • Bryce Cunningham
  • Robert Dodds
  • Paul Grant (Dairy Growth Board)
  • Bruce Mackie
  • Tracey Roan
  • Sarah Simpson
  • Johnnie Sloan
  • Grant Walker
  • Sally Williams
  • Erlend Wood

The group may appoint further members if it is deemed necessary to fill a gap in knowledge or expertise that becomes apparent during the process.

The Group will take an evidence-based approach to its work. It can co-opt academics, industry bodies or others to aid its deliberations and will acknowledge this work publicly. 

While members are drawn from a range of interests and expertise from across the agri-food system, their involvement is based on their experiences and views rather than representing the views of any organisations. 

Members will share relevant industry and skills-related knowledge and expertise  and will be expected to lead on specific actions where appropriate.  In order to be transparent in taking forward work, membership and declared interests will be a matter of public record.

The Scottish Government will provide a secretariat to the meetings.  While the Group’s discussions will be summarised and publicly available to ensure transparency, specific content will not be attributed to any individuals taking part.  

If a member has any conflict of interest on any matter and is present at a meeting where the matter is being discussed, the member must disclose that nature of their interest in it. 

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