The NFU has expressed its bitter disappointment at the outcome of a vote in the Environment Committee of the European Parliament.
The Environment Committee, voting today on revisions to the National Emissions Ceilings Directive, elected to retain challenging ammonia and methane targets and obligated Member States to report on their progress towards these in both 2025 and 2030, despite strong opposition from large numbers of the Committee.
The revised National Emissions Ceilings Directive was published by the European Commission in December 2013. The draft Directive sets out a requirement for the UK to, amongst other things, reduce ammonia emissions by 21 per cent by 2030 and to reduce methane emissions by 41 per cent by 2030.
NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “The outcome of today’s vote is very disappointing. The biggest challenge over the next few years will be to find ways in which farming can continue to produce high quality food and protect the environment - we need to, and can, do both.
“The European Commission’s target to reduce ammonia emissions by 21 per cent by 2030 will be very challenging for the UK. Increasing numbers of farmers are participating in nutrient management planning, nutrient inputs from manure have decreased and nutrients are being used more efficiently by farmers, so the trends are going in the right direction. We were hoping for the recognition from the Parliament for the need for much more realistic and achievable reduction targets that would be affordable for the agricultural sector, would allow for growth and would protect the environment.
“We have always been clear that the revised directive should not include methane – this just duplicates other EU and national legislative measures that are already in place to address these emissions.
“An obligatory requirement for member states to report on their progress towards emission reduction targets in 2025 as well as 2030, places additional burdens on Member States but is also likely to mean additional reporting requirements for the sector.”