The NFU is championing the key role farmers can play in reducing
greenhouse gas emissions in light of the launch of the UK Climate
Change Programme 2006.
Speaking at the launch Elliot Morley reiterated the Government’s
focus on cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by the
The agricultural industry is already making a positive contribution
for both the environment and bioenergy production, nationally
and internationally, through biomass and biofuel crops.
The NFU welcomes the Government’s commitment to the Renewable
Transport Fuels Obligation, recently confirmed in the budget,
although it looks for further clarity beyond the end of the decade.
The NFU is also looking forward to ministers taking action on
recommendations from the Biomass Task Force, reported in October
Biofuel production affords farmers the opportunity to enter
alternative markets as well as move towards making the UK and
Europe more self-sufficient in its energy needs. Farmers will
benefit from heightened environmental preservation and reduced
costs – a win-win situation being welcomed by the NFU.
The NFU also welcomes the practical measures announced today
including enhanced capital allowances for mixed wastes and small-scale
combined heat and power.
It is awaiting the climate change planning policy statement
with interest and is keen to see strategic co-ordination between
the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Regional Development
Agencies over large scale developments, Combined Heat and Power
and District Heating.
However the NFU is calling for more promotion of the positive
successes already achieved by the farming community towards energy
efficiency, through the over-achievement of targets set for the
Climate Change Levy schemes.
Farmers are already directly focused on energy consumption,
using new technological solutions in precision farming to reduce
their greenhouse gas footprint and energy usage. These smart
solutions will play an important role, sustained by further research
NFU president Peter Kendall said: “UK farmers can play
a pivotal role in combating climate change and achieving UK carbon
dioxide reduction targets by producing green energy biofuels
and biomass as well as reducing inputs. These opportunities were
identified in the NFU report Agriculture and Climate Change launched
in November 20051”
“The NFU welcomes the Government commitment today for
examining the scope and feasibility of a market-based mechanism
for greenhouse gases. Farmers are ready to embrace both the environmental
and economic benefits which could come from such a scheme. Considerable
work needs to be done in investigating exactly how such as scheme
could operate, without increasing the regulatory or cost burden
"These schemes will be complicated, which will inevitably
involve farmers demonstrating changes in their systems. The cost
benefit to farmers must be closely examined”.
Bioenergy production is backed by environmental group Friends
of the Earth, which claims burning biomass fuels could produce
enough electricity to replace more than four nuclear plants.
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