Climate change discussions

Key environmental players have met at the office of BIOGEN (UK) Ltd to discuss how agriculture can make a significant contribution to UK climate change targets.

Following discussions at the company's offices in Milton Ernest, near Bedford, members of the Shadow Secretariat for the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and the Agricultural Sector Associations' Climate Change Task Force were given a tour of BIOGEN's Twinwoods Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant and Bedfordia Farms.

The CCC is currently producing its first report, which will be published in December 2008. This will provide independent evidence-based advice to Government on the targets it should set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from now until 2050.

Within this, the Committee will set carbon budgets for the UK economy up to 2022 and a long-term target to 2050. The report will advise on how different sectors of the economy including the agricultural sector can contribute to reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions.

Lord Adair Turner, Chair of the CCC said: "This farm shows what potential there is for the agriculture sector to contribute to reducing UK Greenhouse Gas emissions. I was particularly interested to see the way that BIOGEN and Bedfordia Farms are working with local supermarkets and councils, taking their food waste and breaking this down, alongside farm waste, to produce electricity."

Industry representatives at the meeting - Peter Kendall, president of the NFU and Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, president of the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) - were keen to impress on Lord Turner the need for understanding when setting targets for agriculture.

Peter Kendall, NFU President explained, "We are urging the Climate Change Committee to take an economically viable and evidence-based approach to greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

"BIOGEN is an excellent demonstration of the way forward for agriculture - integrating livestock with environmental services in the form of low-carbon energy, sustainable waste management and precision farming."