UK government weakens energy efficiency targets for farmers

(The Guardian, 17 Nov 2023) Improvement targets for horticulture and poultry reduced after lobbying from National Farmers’ Union.

The UK government has weakened energy efficiency targets for farmers after lobbying from the National Farmers’ Union.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) had proposed a 40.9% energy efficiency improvement target for horticulture and a 12% target for poultry in order to cut the carbon footprint of the farming sector and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels to heat greenhouses and sheds.

The government has now reduced those targets to 13% for horticulture and 10% for poultry. Experts have warned this measure will cost growers more in the long run as they will have to pay high energy prices.

Lydia Collas, a senior policy analyst at the thinktank Green Alliance, said: “Diluting energy efficiency targets for horticulture will do little to help growers who are struggling to turn a profit. Some didn’t plant last year because energy prices were so high that they knew they wouldn’t recover costs. With less support to cut energy use, their costs will stay high, as will their emissions. This will undermine the competitiveness of UK horticulture as a whole and incentivise imports.”

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The Guardian, 17 Nov 2023: UK government weakens energy efficiency targets for farmers