Assessment of costs associated with carbon levy hotly disputed

AN internal analysis by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the direct impact of the carbon levy on the agriculture sector suggests the average increase in the cost of production across all farms will be some €230 per farm.

However, the figure, which Minister of State Sean Connick outlined to the Senate, was strongly disputed by Senator Paul Bradford, who claimed the extra burden for tillage farmers and contractors will run to thousands of euro, not hundreds.

Mr Connick, responding to queries by Mr Bradford, said the existing excise duty on marked gas oil, also known as green diesel or agricultural diesel, is 4.7 cent per litre. This compares with a duty rate of 41 cent per litre in the case of auto diesel, almost 10 times higher.

Mr Connick said the expectation is that farmers, like everyone else, will seek to reduce fuel use and, therefore, reduce costs.

“That said, I fully appreciate that the imposition of the levy places a considerable burden on farmers, contractors and, in particular, tillage farmers.

“In an ideal world there would not be any need for such measures, but, as we all know, this world is far from ideal. I intend to closely monitor the implementation of the tax with my Government colleagues to ensure it operates as intended.”

Mr Bradford said that even at this late stage, with a view to job creation and maintaining the competitiveness of the economy, including the farming sector, the minister should consider calling on his Government colleagues to reflect on and adopt the French wait-and-see approach.

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