8 November 2001
NFU warns of EU fuel price hike
By Tom Allen-Stevens
THE National Farmers Union has warned that fuel bills could rise by 10% if a new European directive is sanctioned.
A key proposed amendment to the Fuels Directive, which aims to reduce sulphur emissions, has been tabled by the European Parliaments Environment Committee.
If refining companies are to comply, it would result in changes in the cost of producing red diesel, raising prices by about 2.5ppl, says the NFU.
“We are extremely concerned about this,” said NFU Technical Services Committee Chairman Marcus Themans.
“A full investigation needs to be carried out into the environmental benefits before an EU-wide policy is introduced.”
Oil refineries say they are already reducing the sulphur content of red diesel, at no cost to users, but the limits proposed will produce costly logistical problems.
“Going this further step would cost all red diesel users a lot of money but would not achieve much environmental benefit,” said Mr Themans.
“It will mean farmers will be saddled with paying a higher price for operating their machinery, at a time when they can least afford it.
“We urge farmers to lobby their MEPs to vote against the amendment”
The European Parliament will vote on the issue on 29 November and, if it is approved, the legislation would come into effect from 2008.
The directive covers red diesel used for operating machinery only – heating oil would remain exempt.
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