9 November 2001

Energy crop cash to tune of £15m

PRIMEMinister Tony Blair has revealed that farmers will receive £15m from a £100m package announced earlier this year to boost Britains renewable energy.

The Prime Minister said the money would help farmers and foresters establish energy crops. The government has pledged that Britain will generate 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The project had "a vital role to play in helping us meet our medium and long term renewable energy needs," said Mr Blair. A report from the governments Performance and Innovation Unit says a further £18m should be spent on developing advanced energy crops.

Meanwhile, cuts in excise duties and the introduction of compulsory inclusion rates for bio-fuels are in the pipeline as Brussels tries to reduce greenhouse gasses. Transport commissioner Loyola de Palacio said the long-term aim was to replace 20% of diesel and gasoline with alternative fuels by 2020.

&#8226 See next weeks arable special section for more details on energy crops. &#42