HC Deb 28 October 2002 vol 391 c573W
Mr. Boris Johnson

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to promote the planting of biofuel crops on set aside land; and if she will make a statement. [75948]

Mr. Meacher

This Department has allocated£29 million under the Energy Crops Scheme, part of the England Rural Development Programme, for the establishment of short rotation coppice and miscanthus for energy purposes. These crops can be planted on set-aside land and receive payments under the Arable Area Payments Scheme. The Government are providing £70 million of funding through a package of measures which will develop markets for biomass, including energy crops grown on set-aside land, in heat, combined heat and power and electricity generation.

The European Commission has published initial proposals for further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to take effect from 2004. Under these proposals, no crops would be grown on set-aside land. A new carbon credit of ¬45 per hectare is proposed for energy crops, to be paid to producers entering into a contract with a processor. The proposal includes a maximum guaranteed area of 1.5 million hectares eligible for this additional payment.

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