HC Deb 15 July 1985 vol 83 cc11-2
12. Mr. Yeo

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what research is being carried out to develop the use of straw as an energy producing fuel.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Within my Department's biofuels programme, we are supporting the development of equipment to produce straw briquettes.

Mr. Yeo

The problem of surplus straw is acute in Suffolk. Is my right hon. Friend aware of the Danish experiment in which farmers' co-operatives use straw as fuel for local heating schemes and are able to use the residue for fertiliser?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

There is considerable potential for the use of straw. It is estimated that the surplus straw currently burnt in fields could have a potential of about 4 million tonnes of coal equivalent a year. There are interesting experiments abroad. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State recently visited, and was impressed by, an installation in Denmark, which my hon. Friend mentioned.