MORE THAN half a billion pounds is to be put up by the UK to protect nature and make farming more sustainable across the globe.

The Scottish Government has also announced it will invest £55m in restoring and protecting Scotland’s domestic reserves and wildlife.

The announcements come on Nature Day at Cop26, where negotiators from across the globe will set their sights on how to protect animal and plant species from destruction and make farming and food production more sustainable.

The UK pledge is in conjunction with 45 other countries, which have agreed to take urgent action to move towards a more sustainable model of farming.

However Green Peace has said the measures do not go far enough, and do not do anything to tackle the level of dairy and meat consumption across the world, which they say is essential to reduce emissions.

Around a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from farming, forestry and other land use, with experts saying the way the world grows and consumes food needs to change to make a dent in global emissions.

The UK’s £500m will be put towards protecting more than five million hectares of tropical rainforest, as well as creating thousands of green jobs in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

It is part of the Prime Minister’s promise to invest £3bn of International Climate Finance on nature and biodiversity.

UK Government Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “To keep 1.5 degrees alive, we need action from every part of society, including an urgent transformation in the way we manage ecosystems and grow, produce and consume food on a global scale.

“We need to put people, nature and climate at the core of our food systems. The UK government is leading the way through our new agricultural system in England, which will incentivise farmers to farm more sustainably, create space for nature on their land and reduce carbon emissions.

“There needs to be a fair and just transition that protects the livelihoods and food security of millions of people worldwide – with farmers, indigenous people and local communities playing a central role in these plans.”

Along with the UK's pledge, other nations are to set out their own commitments including plans to secure more than $4bn of public money for agricultural innovation, such as developing climate-resilient crops and the regeneration of soil health.

Almost 100 high-profile UK companies are also set to agree a series of commitments to creating more sustainable products and becoming 'nature positive'.

They include OVO Energy announcing its commitment to plant one million trees in the UK within a year, and Burberry promising all its key material will be 100 per cent traceable by 2025, for instance, through sourcing more sustainable cotton, leather and wool, as well as recycled polyester and nylon. Commitments also include a pledge by Co-op, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose to cut their environmental impact across climate, deforestation and nature in a ‘Retailers Commitment for Nature’ with WWF.

Anna Jones, Head of Forests and Food at Greenpeace UK, said:“World leaders seem finally to be catching up with the science in recognising the critical need for a reform of our food system with additional funding to back it, but the plans announced today go nowhere near far enough.

“Efforts to address supply chains are limited to little more than a talking shop around terms of trade for agricultural commodities.

"And there’s nothing on the need to reduce demand for products like meat and dairy that are driving deforestation - a real red flag for cash going straight into the pockets of the big companies that caused the nature crisis in the first place."

She added: "Robust laws to eliminate deforestation and human rights abuses from supply chains are vital, and farmers must be supported to transition to agro-ecological methods rather than depend on heavy inputs of pesticides and fertilisers. Without these elements, nature will continue to be under attack.”

Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon and Patrick Harvie will mark their pledge to spend £55m in restoring and supporting Scottish nature by visiting the Seven Lochs project in Easterhouse to meet youth groups and take part in wildflower planting near a new habitat for endangered water voles.

The Nature Restoration Fund will see £13.5m invested every year for the next five years on both marine and terrestrial projects.

The First Minister said: "Today’s investment is our biggest ever grant scheme specifically targeted at nature restoration, reaffirming our commitment to addressing the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change.

"Most importantly, following the UK government’s withdrawal from the EU Life scheme, it will enable large-scale, multi-year, projects of the kind which are simply not possible with annual grants."

Mr Harvie added: "This funding will mean new projects going forward across Scotland - on land and at sea - that address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, restore our natural environment and improve the health and wellbeing of local communities.”