LETTER : Green future will enrich our lives

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Sir: We are a group of farmers from in and around Tony Blair's own Sedgfield constituency, who can help him achieve the 20 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions he has called for.

We can provide biodiesel, without new environmental taxes, without new taxes on transport fuels. We can grow the oil-producing rape plant. We can sell it for conversion to biodiesel at local processing factories. End-users could buy it at less than the price of polluting fossil-diesel.

The process is carbon-dioxide neutral, which means that the same amount of gas given off by vehicles is taken up by new growing plants. Growing the crop provides an unsubsidised income for farmers, creating job stability in the countryside. Particulate emissions are the same as for fossil-diesel, and can be reduced by 40 per cent with catalytic converters. Vehicles with diesel engines can fill up with either fuel.

Biodiesel can be produced for 50p per litre. Fossil diesel costs 60p at the service station. In 1995 the previous government insisted on putting 34 pence tax on top of this clean, environmental product, so that it can't be produced and sold for under 84 pence per litre.

It's not too late for Gordon Brown to do what Germany does, and have no tax at all on pure biodiesel, in next week's green Budget.


Chairman, East Durham Biodiesel Working Group

Hawthorn, County Durham