UFU present agri-food industry perspective on the proposed Climate Change Bill

Wednesday, 8 May, 2013

Ulster Farmers’ Union Deputy President Ian Marshall has attended the Northern Ireland Environment Link seminar to give an update on the progress the agri- food industry is making to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and to reiterate the Union’s opposition to the creation of a Northern Ireland specific Climate Change Bill.

Ian Marshall said; “The Union recognises that climate change and greenhouse gas emissions are crucial issues that need to be addressed. We also recognise that the agri-food industry is a cornerstone of the Northern Ireland economy and one of the key challenges facing our industry now is how do we keep the balance between producing more food, more efficiently, in a way that is sustainable for Northern Ireland’s family farms while at the same time reducing our impact on the environment. The agri-food industry has already taken steps to address this challenge with the development of the ‘Efficient Farming Cuts Greenhouse Gases’ Strategy and Action Plan and the UFU firmly believes that the creation of specific climate change legislation is totally unnecessary. In 2008 the Northern Ireland Executive approved the UK Climate Change Act and it is imperative that they are allowed to consider the full implications of this proposed legislation before it goes any further.  

“Many farms are already adapting their businesses in an attempt to maximise efficiencies and improve performance and these efforts are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, initiatives launched through the Rural Development Programme, such as the Farm Modernisation Scheme and Manure Efficiency Technology Scheme, have given farmers greater access to new technologies which have also improved farm efficiency while providing environmental benefits. Furthermore, we can expect CAP Reform to progress these measures further in the future. 

Ian Marshall concluded; “The UFU is aware that all industries have an obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions however, it is disappointing that the Minister for Environment has not acknowledged in his pre-consultation document the progress which has been made within the agri-food industry to date.  We believe the Minister would receive more support for measures designed to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in the agri-food sector if he were to support the voluntary and proactive framework which has been collectively introduced rather than imposing further legislation.  We have made good progress so far and the UFU is confident that the agri-food sector will deliver on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all levels of the food supply chain.”