Farmers ‘relieved’ after vote on climate change amendments

It is a key amendment tabled by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots, aligning the cuts with advice from the Climate Change Committee.

UFU President Victor Chestnutt said: “After the careful consideration stage, our farmers are extremely relieved that a separate methane target has been supported by MPs, bringing us back to the Committee’s balanced track on climate change for agriculture. This is still a very ambitious target under the executive’s climate change bill. Farmers have by no means been spared. Big changes will be needed for agriculture to meet it, but backed by science and expert advice, our farmers are ready to take on this challenge and eager to get to work tackling emissions.

“Over the past few weeks our farmers have been placed in a very unfair position, having to deal with frustration and anxiety over a net zero target and the potential negative impact this would have on the agriculture industry. – all of this could have been avoided. However, the bottom line is that local politicians listened to farmers’ concerns and ultimately made the right decisions when it mattered most.

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“The final stage of review will take place next week before the executive’s climate change bill, as it stands, can become law. Concern remains that Clare Bailey’s private member’s bill is still languishing in the background, but the UFU won’t stop until climate change legislation that follows expert advice issued to all members of society will be officially exceeded. We are, however, grateful that right now we are in a much better place than where we were.

“Food security is a major issue not just locally, but globally, with the population estimated to grow from £7.5 billion today to around 10 billion in 2050. We are fortunate at NI to be well placed to produce food from farms with high welfare and environmental standards, and it is extremely encouraging that most of our MPs now recognize this. They have demonstrated their support for our farmers in Stormont, helping to protect our environment and local food production to ensure that in the future we have a sustainable agrifood sector.

“Our agri-food industry is part of the solution to climate change that our farmers recognize. We now need the legislation in place so that we can continue to drive emissions reductions and carbon sequestration for everyone in NI in a balanced way.

Sinn Féin agriculture spokesman Declan McAleer has welcomed Stormont Assembly’s acceptance of an amendment to proposed climate change legislation for Northern Ireland, which would strongly put the emphasis on the levels of biogenic methane it contains.

He added: ‘The amendment actually passed was that proposed by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots. And given that Sinn Féin’s amendment was deemed by the Clerk of the Assembly to be mutually exclusive, a second vote was not necessary.

According to McAleer, the climate change bill recognizes the needs of the agriculture and food sectors in a completely holistic way.

“Our status is now fully in line with both the UK Climate Change Committee and the International Panel on Climate Change,” he added.

Specifically, the agreed amendment will see methane levels fall to 46% of their 1990 levels by 2050.

“It gives the agriculture and food sectors the breathing room they need to move forward,” McAleer said.

“The new legislation will also allow northern farmers to fully embrace new climate change technologies that are coming in the way.

“Specifically, with regard to methane, we already know that feed additives are now available which can reduce gas levels emitted by ruminants by up to 30%.

“And there is no doubt that more scientific breakthroughs will occur in the period to come.”

McAleer concluded: “The final Climate Change Bill will still commit Northern Ireland as a whole to a net zero carbon position by 2050. However, there is now clear evidence that new science will play a major role. to get us there. “

Speaking to the Assembly on Monday evening (28 February), Minister Poots stressed the absolute need for Northern Ireland to maintain the strongest possible food production base.

From the start, the minister called for the introduction of climate change legislation that would fully protect the needs of the agriculture and food sectors here.

Ulster Farmers Union President Victor Chestnut has made it clear that politicians must provide a lifeline to the agribusiness sector.

He said: “MPs have heard the concerns first hand from our farmers across the country, the wider agribusiness industry and rural communities. We have stressed to our MPs that we support climate change legislation that will help us tackle emissions without reducing food production, and now they must work together to ensure that a bill is passed that respects the climate change and all members of society. The future of our industry depends on it.

About Keneth T. Graves

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