§ Mr. Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what steps the Government have taken and intend to take to utilise agricultural crops to substitute for fossil fuels in industries.
§ Mr. Michael Spicer
Fuels derived from agricultural crops are covered by the Biofuels programme, the broad aim of which was described in Energy Paper No. 55 "Renewable Energy in the UK: The Way Forward".
This programme is intended to encourage the widespread commecial exploitation of biofuels by first identifying and then demonstrating where they can be both economically competitive and environmentally acceptable.
Specific agricultural crops which have been investigated within the biofuels research, development and demonstration programme include:Straw. The development and evaluation of low cost systems for processing and burning baled straw, followed by demonstration of the best systems;Energy forestry plantations, both coppice and single stem crops. The assessment of likely yields, costs and returns resulting from the establishment of short rotation energy forestry plantation; the investigation of mechanical energy forestry; studies of its environmental impact.