PIG AND poultry farmers who bought carbon credits as part of the Climate Change Agreements Scheme have been warned to check what account they are storing them in.

A farmer from Northern Ireland contacted FW because he discovered carbon credits he thought were in his account have been retired by DEFRA.

The producers need the credits if they exceed the target set for them on energy use and emissions.

“Two years ago, we needed one credit but bought 25 to water down the cost of setting up an account,” said the farmer, who asked not to be named.

“We need some more, but have found that DEFRA has retired them all. A lot of farmers are going to be in for a shock.

“The credits do not cost big money, but this problem wasn‘t made clear at the start.”

Andrew Kneeshaw, managing director of the Farm Energy Centre, said DEFRA was able to retire credits in a farmer‘s compliance account, but not if they were in a trading account.

“I would advise people buying carbon credits to keep them in their trading accounts. Once they are needed they can be moved into their compliance account.”

Steven Grange, administrator for the NFU‘s Climate Change Levy Scheme, said he believed that most people had only bought the credits they needed so the problem was not widespread.

But a DEFRA spokesman told FARMERS WEEKLY that the problem had arisen before and farmers needed to be aware that anything in their compliance account could be retired to offset their emissions.

isabel.davies@rbi.co.uk