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Country News - 2005

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Farmers could solve fuel crisis - claim

Wednesday 14 September 2005

AS BRITAIN teetered this morning on the edge of a fuel crisis blockade that could bring our roads to a standstill, one of the country's leading observers claimed that farmers could grow the country out of future oil crises.

A deadly combination of Middle East terrorism, the devastation in America caused by Hurricane Katrina, and the highest fuel taxes in Europe has lead to a call from hauliers and farmers to blockade fuel depots in a repeat of the move that brought the country to a halt during the last Labour government.

The first blockade was planned for today and has brought with it panic-buying by motorists which has closed some filling stations. Huge queues were building up in parts of the Yorkshire Dales last night at supermarket petrol stations like Morrison's in Skipton.

But according to one of the country's leading experts, Julian Gairdner, arable editor of Farmers' Weekly, the crisis could have been diverted if the Government had encouraged more farmers to grow biofuel crops like oil seed rape, which can produce huge amounts of diesel fuel in Britain and also cut greenhouse gas emissions.

But Chancellor Gordon Brown, who yesterday refused to cut fuel taxes, is refusing to provide tax incentives to allow farmers to make the switch, says Gairdner.


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