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Stackyard News Mar 06

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    Farmers play key role in climate change solutions - NFU

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.

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Speaking at the launch Elliot Morley reiterated the Government’s focus on cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by the year 2010.

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 2005.

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 and development.

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 on farmers.

"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.

link Woodland managers plan for climate change
link NFU welcomes green light for green fuels
link Don’t Destroy Rainforests To Grow Biofuels Warns CLA

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