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Don’t Destroy Rainforests To Grow Biofuels Warns CLA
30/11/05

Renewable fuels will produce no environmental benefit if tropical rainforests are destroyed in order to grow them, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is warning.

rainforest

"There is very good reason why many of the proposed refineries designed to process bio-fuels here will be located at ports," CLA president David Fursdon, told a major conference on renewable energy* today (November 29). "The feedstock - crops - will be imported. Indeed our growers will be in stiff competition with imports from around the world.

"The recently announced Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) which requires 5% of all UK fuel to come from a renewable source by 2010 is welcome, but not if it simply means imports. This is why we are lobbying hard for environmental certification as part of the obligation."

Giving an over-view of renewable energy from the land, Mr Fursdon "looked forward to a future where biomass heating is standard practice on all farms and in all converted farm buildings, wherever the gas grid is not available". He called for assistance so that as many people as possible could be helped to install biomass boilers. This could either come as direct grant aid or through a long-term mechanism that delivered income through renewable heat obligation certificates.

He cited the biogas plant at Holsworthy in Devon as a blueprint for the future. Food waste from Holsworthy Dairy and the slurry from local farms are processed to provide energy while the residue – the digestate - replaces purchased fertiliser.

"In East Anglia vegetable packing and processing waste would do just as well. The digestate is checked for nitrogen and phosphates, and can be applied to meet crop requirements, reducing water pollution. The total fertiliser value is higher than the nitrogen content in the farm slurry as the food waste input is captured as well.

"There are hundreds of these plants in the EU and further afield, notably in Germany and Holland. At a smaller scale, a UK manufacturer is offering a batch processor which can be shared between farms."

In its policy document 'Renewable Energy - More than Wind' – the CLA has examined all the renewable energy opportunities and made a number of recommendations* which included:

Eliminating the S.36 procedure in planing that imposes very large scale windfarms on local communities; ensuring local authorities require 10% renewables in new developments;
New building regulations to go further in offering renewable energy options as well as increased efficiency in new commercial and domestic property; and
A renewable heat obligation to follow on from the Biomass Task Force’s grants to incentivise renewable heat.

"Here in East Anglia many of you will be facing direct threats from climate change impacts, not least in terms of the threat to our coastline, and increased flooding and drought," said Mr Fursdon. "Renewable energy can help to address climate change while at the same time achieving sustainable rural development, and, most importantly, offering great business opportunities for land owners and managers if addressed in the right way.

"We are actively lobbying Government to improve support for Renewable Energy in the UK."

link NFU welcomes green light for green fuels
link Government Task Force is Cool over Renewable Heat
link Biofuels Are Important Part Of The Mix

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