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Country News - 2004

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Budget blow to bio-fuel plans

Thursday 18 March 2004

BRITAIN'S farmers reacted angrily to yesterday's Budget because it gave no new incentives for the growing of bio-fuels - oils produced from vegetable matter that can be grown here and which also help to reduce greenhouse gasses.

The development of such fuels has been under experimentation for several years now - some people have been running cars on used oil from fish and chip shops! - and the National Farmers' Union considers it a key product which will give them new crops to grow with important environmental benefits.

The NFU had asked the Chancellor to reduce the tax on bio-fuels by 28p per litre but this was refused. At the same time, Mr Brown put up the price of red diesel used in tractors and other farm vehicles by 2.4p a litre - an increase of 50%.

The bio-fuel blow will stop farmers diversifying into bio-fuel output, says the union, and the red diesel increase will cost the food and farming industry millions of pounds a year - money that will be passed on to consumers.


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