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Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to improve opportunities for farmers to supply sugar beet for the production of bioethanol. (95240)

Following the reform of the sugar regime, farmers can grow sugar beet on set-aside land for bioethanol use and can claim the European Union's €45 per hectare Energy Aid payment for sugar beet on non set-aside land. We are aware that British Sugar are building a biofuel processing plant in Norfolk that will use sugar beet as one of the feedstocks.

The Government are promoting the production of bioethanol through a 20 pence per litre duty rate cut. To further develop the supply of biofuels, a Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation will be introduced to require 5 per cent. of fuel sold in the UK to come from a renewable source by 2010. An enhanced capital allowance scheme is also being considered for the cleanest biofuels processing plants. This would allow the cost of capital assets to be written-off against taxable profits.