The answer to rocketing fuel prices and uncertain supply lies
in the heart of the British countryside, according to the NFU.
In a report submitted to the DT today (Thursday) the NFU is
calling for positive encouragement from Government to ensure
more renewable energy is sourced straight from UK farms. The
organisation is urging ministers to take advantage of crop supplies,
such as wheat and sugar beet, to make renewable biofuels.
In the report, the NFU is recommending the introduction of a
capital grants scheme to support and develop biofuel and biomass
production plants. Simple grants of 40 per cent are being called
for over a period of five years to kick-start demand for biomass
To ensure green energy is produced in the UK, the NFU also wants
to see a Carbon Accreditation scheme implemented to link with
current Farm Assurance schemes. This will guarantee biomass and
biofuels are produced from a renewable source, securing the future
market and safeguarding against untraceable imports.
In addition the NFU is supporting EU calls for 20 per cent of
its land growing crops for renewable energy needs to be met by
the year 2020. This links with the UK Government’s own
target of five per cent of transport fuels to be sourced from
renewable energy by the year 2010.
NFU President Peter Kendall said: “UK agriculture is in
a pivotal position to meet the challenge of renewable fuels domestically
and to help reduce the carbon emissions of the road transport
sector. The UK must invest now or it will not be in a position
to benefit from future technologies. The investment will go to
those countries with the infrastructure already in place and
with proven biofuel industries.”
Somerset County Council, and its partners, is blazing a trail
in the biofuels race, with around 22 ‘flexifuel’ cars
currently in operation – including ten in the Somerset
and Avon police force.
The scheme is part of a wider European project BEST (Bio-ethanol
Sustainable Transport) made up of Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland,
Spain, the UK, as well as China and Brazil, joining forces to
introduce bioethanol fuel – E85 - to consumers.
In Somerset five Morrison supermarket forecourts are currently
selling E85, which is cheaper than petrol. E85 also omits around
60 per cent less greenhouse gasses and has been used by North
and South American drivers for a number of years.
The NFU fully supports the introduction of bioethanol, which
can be produced in large quantities from crops, creating sustainable
employment and new business opportunities for agriculture.
1. Bioethanol is biodegradable, less explosive, less poisonous
and easier to extinguish than burning petrol or diesel.
2. Bioethanol needs a market share of about five per cent to
become self-supporting and commercially viable at the pumps.
3. Somerset Partnership is made up of Somerset County Council,
Wessex Grain, Imperial College London, Ford Motor Company and
the Energy Saving Trust.
4. Flexible fuel cars in Somerset are the Saab 95 and the Ford
5. Current supplies of E85 are being imported from Brazil.
6. In addition the NFU’s Energy Review submission to
the DT welcomes recommendations from the Biomass Task Force
including the need for more procurement of energy from biomass
and renewable energy obligations for new-build homes.
7. Biomass produces electricity, biofuel produces fuel for transport.
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