Scotland wants balanced green policies

May 2, 2012 at 7:38 AM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, May 2 (UPI) -- The Scottish government aims to find the right balance between environmental protection and a healthy agriculture sector, a minister said.

Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said there needs to be a green agenda that helps the environment while ensuring farming of food crops is productive.

"I can assure farmers that we will resist greening proposals which won't deliver environmental benefits but which put unreasonable obstacles in the way of farmers carrying out their day-to-day business," he said in a statement.

He said climate initiatives on the books are increasing efficiencies at Scottish farms.

Lochhead said it was up to the European Commission to follow Edinburgh's example on climate change as it searches for a common agricultural policy.

"With greening, the trick will be to find the right balance," he said. "Our task is to ensure the (European) Commission proposals include sufficient flexibility to make them work for Scotland and Scotland's farmers."

The Scotsman newspaper notes that farming accounts for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Any changes in European policy, the report adds, would over complicate the issue, Lochhead said.

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