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'Farmers hold key to creating green energy' says MP

June 28, 2012 11:22 AM

TF ruralCumbrian MP Tim Farron has called on the government to create a separate 'farming green energy strategy' that includes grants and support to help farmers diversify and create green energy.

A report released by Eurostat has shown that while renewables met 12.4% of total energy consumption across Europe in 2010 - up from 11.7% in 2009 - the share in theUKwas a mere 3.2%, ahead of onlyMalta(0.4%) andLuxembourg(2.8%).

But according to the research done by the NFU and NatWest, 30% of farmers acrossEnglandandWaleswill be involved in some form of renewable energy production, either use or supply by the end of this summer. The research says that around one in five will be producing clean electricity; one in six will have installed solar PV panels and a further one in eight will be using or generating renewable energy. Tim thinks farmers could do even more if they are given more help.

Tim is calling for a strategy run jointly by Defra and DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change) which would offer expert advice, grants for anaerobic digesters or hydro schemes and low interest loans for solar panels.

Tim has also proposed big green energy schemes too. He recently used Business Questions in the House of Commons to call for a debate to discuss the possibility of a future large-scale tidal energy scheme across Morecambe Bay.

In light of the recent resignation from the Labour front benches by Neath MP, Peter Hain, who is stepping back in order to concentrate his efforts on the campaign to build a tidal barrage across the River Severn -Tim called for the debate in parliament to discuss the future of other potential projects such as one inMorecambeBay.

Tim said: "I want the government to give the farmers the tools to help create green energy. Farmers just need a bit of help and support to create anaerobic digesters or projects that will create green energy. A small grant to a farmer really could make a massive difference."