Welcome make-over for pig industry's climate change discount scheme

UK - Incomprehensible to mere mortals though it may have been, the climate change levy scheme has helped the average 500-sow unit achieve savings of around 342,000 over the past six years.
calendar icon 14 June 2007
clock icon 4 minute read

And now with the appointment of FEC Services (what we used to call the Farm Energy Centre) the scheme is set to enter a new era of usability, where members are protected from red tape by plain-speaking energy experts who understand the virtue of keeping things SIMPLE.

The annual fee for the scheme will be more at £165 plus VAT, but it will be money well-spent, says NPA general manager Barney Kay, who is satisfied that pig-keepers are going to see big changes, and all for the better.

FEC Services has operated the horticulture climate change levy scheme in partnership with NFU for the past 18 months with considerable success.

Pig-keeper members will now be able to tap into its expertise. Some members – maybe the majority – will be able to choose a new baseline year if it makes sense to do so.

Such mysteries as buying carbon will also be made simple (you set up a trading account through FEC Services for £50).

Other benefits will include a Compliance File for every member, with all the necessary information about the scheme and your place in it. And coming soon will be an on-line service that compares members' energy use month by month, in simple graphical format.

The £42,000 energy saving quoted at the top of this article is based on a 500-sow unit taking all progeny through to slaughter.

The figure is made up of the 30 percent energy reduction achieved by the scheme over six years, together with six years of the unit’s climate change levy 80 percent discount, worth £1,000 a year. Some units will have saved more, some less.

The message to all pig producers must be (as Hugh Crabtree and Nick Bird at Farmex have been pointing out for many years) that though the discount is useful, the real savings come from reducing energy use.

Some producers fear they cannot continue to make the savings required by the scheme.

But they really shouldn’t worry, according to Andrew Kneeshaw and Chris Plackett at FEC Services. Saving two percent of a diminishing amount is far easier than saving two percent of the baseline year amount. And in any case, some members have already achieved sufficient cuts to see them right through to the end of the scheme’s ten-year life.

  • Pictured above are Andrew Kneeshaw with FEC's Compliance File - every member will get one - and Chris Plackett, with the new on-line sofware that will allow producers to compare their energy use month by month, using simple charts instead on inpenetrable spreadsheets.
  • Nigel Penlington, of BPEX, will be organising some meetings for scheme members, in conjunction with FEC Services. But these will be meetings with a difference. Instead of being talked at for a couple of hours, producers will be able to chat issues through informally with FEC experts. Dates will be announced here when available.
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