Half of farmers are barley bothered about emissions

More than half of British farmers place little or no importance on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when making decisions. That’s according to new statistics released by the Department for Environment, […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

More than half of British farmers place little or no importance on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when making decisions.

That’s according to new statistics released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which track a series of environmental indicators in the agriculture industry year-on-year.

The information charts the industry’s progress towards its ambition of reducing agricultural production emissions by three million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) by 2020, compared to a 2007 baseline.

By February 2016, a reduction of approximately 0.9MtCO2e had been achieved, compared to an estimated maximum reduction of around 2.8 MtCO2e.

The statistics illustrate that the main way greenhouse gas levels were and can continue to be reduced is through using emissions intensive fertilisers more efficiently.

Around 10% of farmers said it was “very important” to consider GHGs when making decisions relating to their land, crops and livestock and a further 39% thought it “fairly important” – this marks no significant change upon the previous year.

Just over half of respondents placed little or no importance on taking GHGs into account and many even thought their farm did not produce GHG emissions.

Overall, 56% of farmers were taking actions to reduce their carbon emissions, with larger farms more likely to be taking action than smaller farms.