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MP welcomes reduction in livestock production carbon footprint

November 2, 2012 11:27 AM

TF ruralCumbrian MP Tim Farron has welcome news this week that improvements in the beef and sheep production sector has resulted in a drop in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in almost every decade for the past 40 years.

The announcement comes following a project commission by the English Beef and Lamb organisation, EBLEX that has taken historic data on performance and production for beef and lamb between 1970 and 2010 to investigate the impact of improvements in technology and methods on the industry's carbon footprint.

The report has shown that the beef carbon footprint fell from 23.05kg of carbon dioxide equivalents (kg CO2-e) per kilogram of liveweight, to 14.41kg CO2-e. For sheep, the figure fell from 13.8kg CO2-e to 11.78kg CO2-e over that period. This is the equivalent of a reduction in GHG by 9.4% in every decade since 1970 in the beef sector. In the lamb sector, while there is not consistent quality data over the entire 40 year period, a credible reduction of 9.3% over the past decade has been found.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has set the agriculture sector an interim target to reduce its contribution to GHGs by 11% by 2020 based on 2008 figures.

Commenting Tim said: "This is an important set of data for our farming industry. For too long people have accused the farming industry of failing to improve their methods and techniques and of not making efforts to reduce the industry's carbon footprint, but this project clearly shows this is not the case.

"There is obviously more that must be done to ensure that this rate of reduction continues into the future, but this is a much needed vote of confidence for farmers to prove this can be done. What we need now is a guarantee from the Government that they will continue to support our farmers as they attempt to 'green' their businesses."