The radical actions aiming to slash farming emissions

Low-emission slurry spreading major part of new plan.
Low-emission slurry spreading major part of new plan.
The Government's climate action plan sets out 35 actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farming
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The Government's Climate Action Plan has 35 action points for agriculture. These include bringing forward the introduction of the Teagasc Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions report.

Carbon sequestration will also contribute to emissions reduction.

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The Government is targeting an average of 8,000 hectares per annum of newly planted forest, re-wetting 40,000ha of organic grassland soils and better management of 450,000ha of grassland.

One of the few definite projections is the restoration of 22,107ha of raised bog habitat, which it says will directly reduce or halt carbon loss.

It also calls for the establishment of a number of priority peatland sites as part of a network of climate change-related indicators.

Reducing the age at which cattle are finished will also be looked at, as part of a review of animal health and finishing regimes, while the environmental standards of animal feeds will also be assessed.

A target is to be set for the level of energy to be supplied by indigenous biomethane by 2030, with public consultation on increasing the supply of biomethane to the transport sector.

By the end of next year, the plan sets out to have a feasibility study into the availability of feedstocks for an anaerobic digestion industry here, including the use of animal manure.

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In addition, the Government's plan will seek to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use and support the maximum environment and climate ambition in the next CAP.

Slurry management

Other actions set out include more research into feed additives, increased livestock efficiency through genotyping, improving slurry management on farms, and developing a roadmap to ensure the future development of agriculture and the land use.

The action plan also specifies a review of nitrogen management and a review of nitrate derogation terms.

On forestry, the report sets out to promote diversification of land use, identifying barriers to increasing afforestation and to increase the number of new Knowledge Transfer groups, which promote sustainable forest management, as well as putting in place a publicly-funded capital programme to extend the current forestry programme, which expires in 2020.

It also says the Government will look at options to incentivise forestry measures.

It also calls for increased use of timber in buildings.

There will also be a review of educational material on climate change, as well as agriculture and land use in second- and third-level institutions to help educate farmers on the benefits of diversification.

The Government's climate action plan sets out 35 actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farming

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