Ulster Unionist MLA Rose-mary Barton says UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) Chairman Lord Deben clearly outlined the need for food imports to be of at least a similar standard to those required for food production in the UK when he addressed the Stormont Agriculture committee last week.
Mrs Barton, who party’s spokesperson on agriculture, said: “The AERA Committee are currently taking evidence on the Green Party Climate Change Bill.
“This week the Chairman of the UK Climate Change Committee Lord Deben gave evidence of the Committee research and provided clear reasoning for them recommending NI should have a target of 82 per cent carbon reduction by 2050, as opposed to the current proposals in the Climate Change Bill of zero carbon emissions by 2045.
“In response to questions on this matter Lord Deben repeated on a number of occasions that there is no point setting a target that research clearly says is not possible to meet.”
Mrs Barton also questioned Lord Deben on the potential of food security and additional food miles if there is much less food produced in the UK due to climate change legislation.
She continued: “Lord Deben was very clear by indicating that the last thing we want to do is to import goods from elsewhere.
“The carbon footprint in the UK is one of the lowest in the world, and imports from other countries would significantly increase this carbon footprint, resulting with a very negative impact on climate change.
“The CCC Chairman further highlighted that the committee are clear that the Government must not allow food importation from countries that are not meeting the same production standards as there is in the UK.
“He went on to praise the standards of food production in NI.
“It is vital that proposals for climate change improvements do not have the opposite effect and as already highlighted it is not sensible to demand people to do things that they cannot achieve.”