Eblex issues emissions plea

Beef and lamb producers have been urged to do more to tackle emissions in a bid to avoid further regulation from the government.

Eblex, the levy body, issued the warning following the publication of its second beef and sheep roadmap called ‘Testing the Water’ – which has highlighted the financial benefit of an improved environmental performance by producers.

Nick Allen, sector director at Eblex, labelled climate change as “one of the most important issues facing the industry today” and warned that New Zealand has started to see the introduction of carbon trading – adding an extra burden to costs for the red meat industry.

Allen said: “It doesn’t matter whether you wholly believe in it, whether the figures quoted to us are reliable or the exact extent to which beef and sheep production contributes to the UK’s overall emissions, which remains the subject of debate at the highest level.

“The simple fact is that the government is using carbon emissions as the yardstick to measure our industry’s environmental performance, irrespective of other factors which mitigate methane production as a by-product of rumination, such as pastures being a significant carbon sink. We therefore have to conduct work in this area, but it does not preclude us from highlighting other areas of importance, such as water usage, as we have done, to build a bigger, and more accurate, picture of livestock production and its more positive performance on the environment than the one often painted.

“We all have a duty to help improve the efficiency of the industry. With the two roadmaps and our ongoing knowledge transfer of the information contained therein through our Better Returns Programme, we are doing what we can to arm individual producers with the tools they need to not only cut their carbon footprint, but also to improve their financial margins at the same time.”

The government has challenged English farmers to reduce their annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a level at least 11% lower than current predictions by 2020. Overall, the UK’s Low Carbon Transition Plan calls for greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 18%.

Eblex produces a range of materials, distributed via its Better Returns Programme, aimed at helping improve technical efficiency. It is also working on a new range of targeted materials for producers seeking more technically innovative solutions.

If you would like to join the Better Returns Programme, visit www.eblex.org.uk/returns/ or email brp@eblex.org.uk.

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