Britain Seen Missing Biofuels 'Opportunity'
Britain will have to import biofuel to meet EU targets unless urgent action is taken to develop an indigenous industry, the Commons heard today.
Tory Michael Jack warned farmers risked missing a “gigantic opportunity” and called on Chancellor Gordon Brown to offer further incentives for using biofuels.
Mr Jack, who chairs the environment select committee, said: “Sadly to date the use of indigenous raw material, oilseed rape produced in the UK, turned into biodiesel is effectively almost non-existent.
“Those plants which have been put into production use effectively the residues of cooking oils to produce biofuels.
“It is good that some biofuels are produced, but given the potential for British agriculture to benefit from a revolution in fuel production we do seem at the moment not to be taking advantage of the possibilities of both producing and developing a facility for biofuels in this country.”
Biofuels were the only source of renewable power currently suitable for road transport, he noted during a Commons debate.
“Given the Government’s understandable commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, we obviously would say the two naturally go together.”
Mr Jack (Fylde) said the Government denied its policy on biofuel was “muddled and unfocused”, but there was no single “champion” among ministers.
About 700,000 litres or 600 tons of biodiesel were sold each month, but produced mainly from recycled cooking oils, he added.
No bioethanol was yet available commercially.
The EU required the UK and other members to set indicative targets for the use of biofuels. These were 2% by 2005 and 5% by 2010.
Production of biodiesel in the UK was currently about 25,000 tons a year, half from cooking oil and the balance from imports.
A further 27 million litres would be needed in the UK to meet the 2% EU target by 2005
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