MAFF-run plant to burn excess MBM?
MAFF is considering buying and running its own power station in a bid to dispose of the mountains of meat and bonemeal in storage, the result of more than 1.5m cattle killed in the over 30-month scheme.
At a show press conference, farm minister, Jack Cunningham, said the Environment Agency had concluded that incinerating MBM in power stations was safe. But some of the commercial power generators who had offered their services had demanded ridiculously high prices.
Ministers believed a way round the problem could be for MAFF to buy a disused power station which could then be renovated and used exclusively to burn MBM, Dr Cunningham said.
Quizzed on whether he would apply to the EU commission for the available aid to compensate farmers for the recent green £ revaluations, he said no decision had been reached.
NFU leaders continue to press the minister to implement the compensation package which, using the EU commission calculations, would be worth about £700m, payable over three years. Sir David Naish, NFU president, again told Dr Cunningham at the show that every other EU country which had suffered currency revaluations had implemented the compensation package.
There was no justification for UK farmers being left to compete on unequal terms with their EU counterparts, Sir David insisted. The strong £ had wiped up to 30% off commodity prices in recent months. But Dr Cunningham said it was not simply a case of picking up the phone to Brussels and asking for the money.
The UKs unique position in Europe, with the rebate system negotiated by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, meant two-thirds of any agrimonetary compensation from the EU would end up being funded by the UK Treasury. *