WITH GOVERNMENT support, Scotland‘s farmers could make a significant contribution to the fight against global warming, Members of the Scottish Parliament have been told.

Giving evidence to the Environment and Rural Development Committee‘s inquiry into the Scottish Executive‘s climate change programme, NFU Scotland president, John Kinnaird, said that, given the right support, farmers could explore a new range of renewable energy resources.

He highlighted the potential to grow crops, such as oilseed rape, cereals and sugar beet, which can be processed into green fuels.

These biofuels, said Mr Kinnaird, can cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 60% compared with fossil fuels.

And, with more than half the biodiesel used in the UK currently being imported, he said that the suitability of Scotland to grow these crops should be exploited.

But government investment was critical if the industry was ever to prosper.

The union also emphasised the potential of biogas, produced by harnessing the methane gas generated from the 13 million tonnes of manure and slurry produced by livestock in Scotland each year.

“If the biofuel processing industry could get the same investment support and tax treatment as that available elsewhere in Europe, farmers would benefit from the extra income, jobs would be created and, crucially, the environment would benefit enormously,” Mr Kinnaird said.