The government should introduce a capital grant scheme to promote the use of crops and agricultural wastes as sources of renewable energy, the NFU has said

The union made the call in its response to a Department of Trade and Industry consultation entitled Securing clean afford-
able energy for the long-term.

The grant scheme, should run for at least five years, covering 40% of the start-up costs associated in establishing a combined heat and power production facility, the NFU said.

Rather than just offer grants to those who can secure a market for selling their own energy the NFU is advocating the combined units be given equal consideration by government planners and Regional Development Authorities when considering major public spending programmes.

NFU president Peter Kendall said:

“UK agriculture is in a pivotal position to meet the challenge of renewable fuels domestically and to help reduce the carbon emissions of the road transport sector.

“The UK must invest now or it will not be in a position to benefit from future technologies.

The investment will go to those countries with the infrastructure already in place and with proven biofuel industries.”

The NFU report also added support for the EU’s call for 20% of energy demand to be supplied from renewable sources by 2020 and urged the government to take a more holistic approach to energy policy in general.

Where developments are planned in remote areas, biomass plants should be given preference due to the large quantities of power lost in carrying energy over power lines, it said.

In addition the NFU has called for a carbon accreditation scheme to link with the current farm assurance schemes.