Muddled Thinking on Energy Policy Attacked; CLIMATE CHANGE: CLA Urges Government to Set an Example for Rest of the World to Follow

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Byline: SHEILA COLEMAN

MUDDLED thinking and halfhearted support has damaged the UK's policy on renewable energy, claim land and rural business owners.

The Country Land and Business Association has called for Britain to set the rest of the world an example in the field of alternative power development, prompted by government warnings at the recent Earth Summit in South Africa on the growing dangers of climate change.

It says ministers should back their words with action aimed at reducing the burning of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases believed by scientists to be responsible for increasing threats of rising sea levels, flooding, storms and droughts.

The CLA is calling for a major review of the government's renewable-energy policy after a catalogue of failures including: u The flagship Arbre biomass power station in Yorkshire is now bankrupt, leaving many farmers who planted willow crops specifically to feed the plant in real difficulties; u Other biomass plants have failed to get planning consent; u Many other biomass proposals, driven by ministry insistence on the adoption of untried technologies, are facing financial difficulties; u Bio-diesel and bio-ethanol, low-carbon fuels for road use common in many parts of the world, are not off the starting blocks in the UK; u Wind farms in many areas face opposition from local people and a real fight to gain planning permission. …