Britons’ familiar and well-loved fish and chips could become scarcer as politics and climate change imperil UK vegetable and fruit supplies.
LONDON, 5 February, 2019 − A combination of Brexit − Britain’s move to leave the European Union − and climate change is threatening UK vegetable and fruit supplies for its 66 million people.
Brexit-associated delays at ports could result in widespread shortages of a range of imported vegetables and fruit such as lettuces and tomatoes, particularly if the UK crashes out of Europe at the end of March this year with no deal in place.
Now there’s more bad news on the British food front; a just-released report says climate change and resulting abnormal weather conditions are causing significant decreases in the UK’s own vegetable and fruit harvests.
The study, produced by the Climate Coalition in association with the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds in the UK, says about 60% of food consumed in Britain is domestically produced.
The unusually warm summer in 2018 – the hottest ever in England since records began in 1910, according to the report – led to a drop in the onion harvest of 40% and a decline of between 25% and 30% in the carrot crop.
In 2017 the UK’s apple growers lost 25% of their produce due to unseasonably warm weather followed by an unusually late series of frosts.
“It’s really hard work growing fruit and vegetables, but erratic and extreme weather pushes you over the edge”
The study says climate change-related extreme and unpredictable weather is putting at risk future supplies of potatoes – a staple of the British diet.
“The UK could lose almost three-quarters of the area of land currently well-suited for potatoes by the 2050s under climate projections”, says the report.
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