Farmers and growers interested in making savings on their energy costs should register their interest now for the new Climate Change Levy Discount scheme.

The government scheme, which has been around since 2001, is set to change in April next year when higher discount rates will become available.

Run by the NFU on behalf of farmers and growers across the UK, the scheme is administered by the Farm Energy Centre (FEC) and open to pig, poultry and horticulture (both edible and ornamental) growers.

The current scheme offers a 65% discount on the levy paid for electricity, mains gas, LPG and coal use, but the new scheme will offer an increased discount of 90% on the levy paid for electricity usage.

To date a total of 869 farmers and growers have benefited from the scheme, saving on average £2,620 each on their climate change levy payments every year.

“You join the scheme through the NFU and then sign a legal agreement which sets you energy targets that have to be achieved between April 2013 and 2020,” said FEC commercial director Chris Plackett.

“A participant is required to provide energy use and production data for a base year, so they would need good records and a complete 12 months of data. It’s individual targets for individual farms but it works within an agreed bracket which the government describes as ‘challenging but achievable’.

“There is a membership fee which is of the order of about £350 a year for livestock producers and a proportional figure for those in horticulture.”

The energy reduction targets for the new scheme are being agreed by the government and industry. Participants in the new scheme will be set four energy reduction targets, with two to be achieved by 31 December 2015 and 31 December 2019.

“The Climate Change Levy rates are going up and the discounts are going up so it’s a good time to re-evaluate and get involved. There are bigger savings to be made now,” added Mr Plackett.

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