THE HGCA has countered concern that the government’s latest encouragement for biofuels could be bad for wildlife.

Speaking on the BBC’s Farming Today, Friends of the Earth’s Roger Higman said he feared that implementing the Road Transport Fuels Obligation could see prairie farming continuing at the expense of wildlife.

“The nightmare that we see is a continuation and exacerbation of what we have seen over the last 30 years.”

Mr Higman said a summer walk showed that flowers once common on South Oxon downland were now largely confined to the Ridgeway.

“The rest seemed to comprise this vast prairie of heavily intensified cornland that has no wildlife value whatsoever.”

But Alastair Dickie of the HGCA stressed that in addition to its proposed carbon accreditation scheme for ensuring biofuels were truly ‘green’, it would be working hard to ensure all environmental concerns surrounding their production were addressed.

“The evidence is that arable farming at least since the early 1990s has been increasingly environmentally-friendly.”

He pointed out that environmental protection messages from the likes of LEAF and the Voluntary Initiative were steadily being taken up.

“Farming has always looked after the countryside.”