UK food industry gives carbon targets cautious welcome

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 19th May 2011

The UK food industry has cautiously welcomed the British Government’s fourth “carbon budget” but maintained that meeting goals to cut emissions must not put the country at a competitive disadvantage globally.UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has committed the Government to halving greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels for the period 2023-2027.

This is ahead of EU targets to reduce emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020 and the UK is among some European countries calling for this goal to be raised to a 30% target.

However, in a concession to UK industry, the government has also said that it will review the targets to see how they compare with EU emissions goals in 2014.

The Food and Drink Federation’s director of sustainability Andrew Kuyk highlighted that the food industry has already signed up to achieve a 35% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. This, he insisted, was both ahead of targets set by the Government’s third carbon budget and the commitments made “by any other sector”.

However, he continued: “The key to going further to meet the even more demanding reductions recommended by the fourth carbon budget will lie in energy market reforms and other electricity supply measures yet to be announced. It will also be essential for UK business to remain competitive during this process. In this context the promised review of targets in 2014 to take account of progress in the EU will be critical.”

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