HC Deb 28 November 2001 vol 375 c1025W
Mr. Swire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the money announced by the Government in October 2000 to promote the growth of energy crops has already been applied for; and if she will make a statement. [17277]

Mr. Morley

Our Energy Crops Scheme, part of the England Rural Development Programme, makes £29 million of assistance available to farmers. Applications which have been agreed or are being assessed total about 2 per cent. of this. This includes establishment grants for short rotation coppice and miscanthus and funding to set up a producer group for SRC growers. The low level of expenditure reflects slower than expected progress with biomass-fuelled projects. The Government have now allocated over £70 million of funding for market development and we are working closely with Government Departments and other bodies to develop opportunities in power generation, combined heat and power and heat applications. We expect this to lead to a significant increase in uptake.