North East farmers are poised to grow the fuel of the future
thanks to a government announcement that should kick-start Britain's
fledgling biofuels industry.
The government says that, by 2010, five per cent of all road
transport fuels supplied into the UK market should come from
accredited renewable sources.
This will increase demand for green fuels such as biodiesel,
which is produced from oilseed rape, and bioethanol, made by
processing crops including wheat, sugar beet and potatoes.
NFU member, Seaham farmer and spokesman for North East Biofuels,
John Seymour said: "We have been working hard to highlight
the overwhelming case for biofuels with partners including Friends
of the Earth and English Nature. I'm pleased the government has
listened and given the green light to home-grown green fuels.
"Britain's biofuels industry has been stuck in neutral
for far too long. Today's announcement means it can get on the
road with confidence and drive forward benefits for farmers,
the public and the environment.
"In the North East we grow more than a quarter of a million
hectares of wheat, more than 10% of the country's sugar beet
and more than 80,000 hectares of oilseed rape so our farms can
make a substantial contribution to fuelling the country's future
The European Union had set the UK a target of 5.75% renewable
road transport fuel by 2010. Research by York's Central Science
Laboratory shows this could be met with biofuels produced from
350,000 hectares of oilseed rape, 205,000 hectares of sugar beet,
150,000 hectares of wheat and 205,000 hectares of short rotation
coppice or miscanthus, plus waste wood and recycled oils.
"It's also important to remember that this announcement
will certainly strengthen the case for a range of biofuels investment
projects here in the North East and so is very good news for
the regional economy as a whole," added John Seymour.
"Farming is the only industry actually taking carbon dioxide
out of the atmosphere and this announcement means that effort
will be stepped up still further. After all, a 5% biofuels target
equates to one million cars being taken off Britain's roads."
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