Energy saving target is 20%

Protected crops nurseries have had their energy saving target for the next two years set at 20 per cent under the Climate Change Levy (CCL) rebate scheme.

By the time of the next "milestone", in September 2010, growers will have to demonstrate that they are using 20 per cent less energy per year - in terms of kW per sq m - than they did in 2004, to continue to qualify for an 80 per cent rebate on their CCL payments.

The target for the two years, which ended in September 2008, was 12 per cent.

The scheme is a legal agreement between the industry and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), negotiated by the NFU and administered by energy consultancy FEC Services. DECC had been pushing for a new 28 per cent target.

"We've negotiated a more realistic figure thanks to the evidence we submitted during negotiations," said NFU horticultural adviser Chris Hartfield.

Horticulture has been particularly successful in saving energy and meeting its CCL targets. For example, at the previous milestone in 2006, growers had achieved energy-efficiency savings of more than 18 per cent overall, which prompted DECC to suggest a more stringent target.

"We argued that many growers have made significant improvements in energy efficiency that can't be repeated, by using technology like thermal screens, for example," said Hartfield. "The new target is challenging but realistic in the tough trading conditions being faced by many growers.

"The information we have got from our CCL members suggests that further savings can still be made, so we are confident that growers will continue to rise to the challenge of saving energy and money."

CCL scheme participants will be notified individually regarding the exact implications of the new targets for their particular business.

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