The NFU has reiterated farmers’ commitment to deliver green energy solutions after Prime Minister David Cameron joined with heads of state from across Europe to call for a greater focus on renewable energy.
Energy security was top of the agenda when Mr Cameron met with his 26 counterparts from across the EU in Brussels this week (May 23). The meeting covered all forms of energy, but the Council conclusions included several provisions on renewable energy.
The NFU welcomed the move saying farmers were willing and able to help the government deliver on its green energy commitments.
“David Cameron and the EU’s commitment to renewable energy as part of the wider energy mix is good news for our sector,” said Sian Davies, European Policy Adviser in the NFU’s Brussels office.
She added: “The Council said it was “crucial” to further diversify Europe's energy supply and develop indigenous energy resources. Our message is that farmers and growers can play a key role in delivering energy security and tackling climate change, and we now urge the government to back up this week’s commitment with policies on the ground. Farmers have access to around three quarters of the UK’s land and as such are in a unique position to produce green energy through solar, wind, hydro, biogas and biofuels, enhancing the profitability of food production.
“But we need the government’s help to build greater confidence in the industry and attract investment. For instance, the EU is currently considering legislation to constrain the production of transport biofuels, which would have a devastating impact on British biofuel production. We are urging ministers to block these proposals given that UK biofuels can be sustainable, produce an important animal feed by-product and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Council conclusions called for more priority to be given to the implementation of legislation on the promotion of renewable energies, an “alternative fuels” directive and “significant investments” to finance energy and resource efficiency, energy infrastructure and renewables.
The Council will report back on progress on the implementation of their conclusions by the end of the year.