Support green fuel industry call

Apr 1 2004

By Jennifer Mackenzie, The Journal

More than half of the UK's biodiesel, a renewable fuel made primarily from crops, is imported.

The news has been met with dismay by NFU Scotland who, together with other environmental and industry bodies, has been persistently calling for increased domestic production.

The figures from the European Biodiesel Board (EBB), just released, also show that the UK lags well behind other EU countries in biodiesel production. NFU Scotland believes the UK Government's lack of commitment to renewable road fuels is costing jobs and failing the environment.

The NFUS has long campaigned for Government support for the green fuel industry. Scotland's climate is well suited to growing energy crops, such as oilseed rape.

However, the NFUS says an inequitable tax regime and lack of investment in processing facilities has stifled development.

NFUS believes greater commitment from the Government would result in significant benefits for the environment, the farming industry and the economy.

NFUS president John Kinnaird said: "The Chancellor's Budget last month was a real let down. The biofuel industry required a significant reduction in the duty on biodiesel and bioethanol to make it viable and competitive and to tap into the obvious environmental, economic and agricultural benefits.

"The figures released by the EBB make the UK Government's lack of real commitment all the more galling.

"Repeated attempts by Government to encourage the use of public transport have failed to prise the public from their cars. Therefore, the Government should be putting significant emphasis on making road fuels as `green' as possible." He added: "If the UK Government is truly committed to biofuel development and wishes to meets its own renewable energy targets, it should establish a tax regime that recognises its many potential benefits. It should also offer regional grant assistance for processing projects, similar to that available elsewhere in Europe."

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