‘Green Day’ announcements: New approach for farmers measuring emissions

05 April 2023

An image of a tractor with wind turbines in the background

The government has delivered a series of announcements and documents dubbed as 'Green Day', outlining how it will meet net zero targets, maintain energy security and a new Nature Markets Framework. 

Key amongst the details published as part of these announcements are:

The update to the 2021 Net Zero strategy has come in response to the legal challenge presented by the High Court that the government’s Net Zero strategy was deemed to be ‘inadequate.’ ‘Powering up Britain’ incorporates the government’s announcement last year on their Energy Security Strategy, published in response to rising gas prices and the war in Ukraine.

What’s new for farmers?

Defra has published a Nature Markets Framework “for scaling up private investment in nature recovery and sustainable farming”. The Framework aims to develop the growth of nature markets to give farmers greater opportunity to access private sector funding.

Included in this framework, is a commitment to develop a harmonised carbon footprint methodology for measuring on farm emissions. The government will also set out by 2024 how farmers will be supported to measure and reduce their GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions.

NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw welcomed the new approach: “We have been asking Defra for support with harmonised on-farm greenhouse gas auditing and data gathering for some time, so this announcement is a positive step towards British farmers reaching our net zero by 2040 ambition.

“We look forward to working with Defra on the details of how farmers and growers will be supported to measure and reduce their emissions,” he concluded.

Other details covered a call for evidence on eliminating biodegradable waste being sent to landfill by 2028 and an estimation that ‘high efficacy’ methane inhibiting feed additives will be on the market from 2025. There was also a recognition that the dairy sector increased milk production between 2000 and 2020 with 21% fewer cows and 12% less GHG emissions.

tom bradshaw af 143

This announcement is a positive step towards British farmers reaching our net zero by 2040 ambition."

NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw

‘Powering up Britain’ at a glance

The new net zero strategy has number of overall aims including:

  • a potential doubling of Britain’s electricity generation capacity by the late 2030s.
  • moving existing “green levies” on electricity bills over to gas pricing so as not to penalise households and businesses for using increasingly-decarbonised electricity instead of gas for
  • exploration of the potential for innovative electricity imports

On renewable energy, the government plans to establish an industry taskforce which will publish a 2024 roadmap on how to grow solar power to five time its current capacity by 2035. There will be no changes to agricultural land classification that might constrain solar farm deployment.

The NFU also welcomed promises to speed up the planning process for new renewable energy developments but reiterates its message that parallel reforms to the grid connection process are equally important.

Lack of clarity

The NFU remains concerned around the lack of clarity on bioenergy and greenhouse gas removal, key elements of our own 2040 net zero ambition.

The NFU's net zero team will continue to work through the documents published by government and their implications. 


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