Global Agriculture

Hutton expertise contributes to parliamentary session on Scotland’s Good Food Nation Bill

05 February 2022UK: Dr Mike Rivington, a senior scientist within the James Hutton Institute’s Information and Computational Sciences department, has contributed evidence to a session of the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the prospective Good Food Nation (Scotland) Bill.

The Good Food Nation Bill, which is at Stage 1 of the legislative process, seeks to provide a new framework for Scotland’s food system. Campaigners behind the Bill say agriculture, planning, social security, public health policies and laws are currently done independently, making it difficult to fix interrelated issues affecting Scotland’s food system. It’s hoped that the Bill will enable a coherent and connected approach to food policy, facilitating a just transition to a fair, healthy and sustainable food system.

Dr Rivington drew his evidence from recent research on the impact of COVID-19, climate change and Brexit on the UK’s food systems. 

Dr Rivington said: “The food system globally contributes to 34% of total greenhouse gas emissions, whilst also being the primary cause of ecosystem degradation. There are also large inequalities between sections of society in access to affordable nutritious food to reduce negative human health impacts such as obesity.

“Hence, there is an urgent need to develop an equitable, socially just and sustainable approach to food production and utilisation. Scotland has great potential in the Good Food Nation Bill to set a global standard in developing an integrated approach to resolving environmental and human health and wellbeing food and nutrition issues”.

Besides Dr Rivington, the committee also heard evidence from Iain Gulland (Zero Waste Scotland), Dr Kirsteen Shields (Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security), Vicki Swales (RSPB Scotland, Scottish Environment LINK), Dr Isabel Fletcher (University of Edinburgh), Claire Hislop (Public Health Scotland), Jill Muirie (Glasgow Centre for Population Health) and Jo Teece (British Dietetic Association).