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Triumphant producers work together to save pig sector energy scheme

by 5m Editor
13 February 2003, at 12:00am

UK - Pig producers have worked cooperatively to rescue the sector's Climate Control Levy scheme, which gives members an eighty percent reduction on the government's energy tax.

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Following direct approaches by NPA environmental specialists Hugh Crabtree and James Black, producers have agreed to un-ringfence their individual energy savings and to toss them back into the scheme for the greater good of all members.

This means the scheme has now met its first milestone target of an across-the-board four per cent reduction in energy use.

A delighted Hugh Crabtree of Farmex said this morning his faith in the British pig industry has been restored. "It proves we can work together when we put our minds to it. What we can do now is put the past behind us and move forward to help members make real savings."

This week he and James Black have phoned around 20 of the larger producers who ringfenced their surplus energy savings.

Once they explained the issues, they won almost 100 percent support for saving the Climate Control Levy scheme. "There was a lot of misapprehension about how the scheme worked and about the role of ringfencing in particular," said Hugh Crabtree. "Once we explained, producers were keen to act for the general good of the sector."

There had been a prevailing view among ringfencers that as they had invested to make savings there was no reason why they should carry those producers who had failed to meet their individual four percent target.

However, said Mr Crabtree, it wasn't necessarily the most efficient producers who hit target at the scheme's first milestone review. "In some cases it was the big gas guzzlers who were most successful at cutting their energy use, because all they had to do was take their foot off the pedal a bit."

But far from holding a post mortem into the sector's narrow escape from ignominious defeat, he wants to look ahead to the next milestone review in four years.

"We know there's money available through Action Energy to assist with awareness. We need to tap into funds and use them to investigate in detail where energy can be saved without spending huge sums of money.

"And then in a focussed manner we must talk to the 'gas guzzlers' and persuade them to implement some straight-forward remedies to reduce their costs.

Hugh Crabtree has maintained all along that the 80 percent climate control levy discount and the question of whether to ringfence or not are red herrings. The real importance of the scheme - the area where real rewards can be won - is to help producers reduce cost of production by making significant savings in their energy bills.

"Our task now is to talk to Defra to see if we can improve the way the scheme operates. We must also win an acceptance that PMWS inevitably increases energy costs."

If the scheme moves forward as planned, members will be able to tap into detailed benchmarked figures, to help them make savings on their own units.

Source: National Pig Association - 13th February 2002

5m Editor