Green party

Green Party opposes Government biofuels plan

14 July 2004

The Green Party says that Government proposals on biofuels will damage both small farmers and the countryside. The Government will come to the end of a public consultation process on biofuels this Friday (16 July).

Green Party spokesperson Tom Tibbits comments:

"It may seem strange that the Green Party opposes these plans, but they will have negligible effects on global warming yet will be devastating to the British countryside. Highly intensive agricultural production and the loss of set-aside land could lead to fewer refuges for biodiversity and strengthen the grip of agribusiness on rural land management. Local food economies could be severely damaged by the loss of local food production, leading to more carbon emissions from importation of foods."

"The Green Party accepts that biofuels can be seen as a pragmatic 'stop-gap' measure to improve the Government's emission reduction strategy, particularly for transport, where emissions have not been curbed. But just growing biofuels is not enough."

"By encouraging localisation, the source of emissions- the current need for long-distance transport- could be tackled."

"The Government's plans will hurt both small farmers and the British countryside by strengthening the hold of multinational corporations on British farming. What's needed is support for vibrant local economies, and measures to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and long-distance transport. Recycling wastes into biofuels offers much greater benefits for struggling local economies than enormous agricultural monocultures."

Fast-Food Fuels

The Green Party, as part of it's zero waste strategy, favours changes in the taxation of biodiesel made from waste oils. Tibbits continues:

"Biofuels, such as biodiesel made from used industrial fast-food cooking oil, are carbon-neutral but are currently taxed at a far higher rate than the fossil-based 'clean fuel' LPG. We strongly urge the government to change this as part of it's commitment to meeting emission targets set out in the Kyoto protocol, and to encourage the use of waste streams more effectively, reducing waterway pollution and the burden on landfill sites."

"Following the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's Biomass Report would result in benefits to the environment, economy and community through better localised planning and recycling strategies. These potentially disastrous proposals offer no real solutions."