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Stackyard News Nov 05

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    NFU welcomes green light for green fuels

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.

photo courtesy of
oilseed rape

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 transport needs."

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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