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Agriculture: Hemp

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) estimate his Department has made of the costs and (b) assessment he has made of the merits of growing industrial hemp in England, with particular reference to the production of cellulose for (i) biodegradable plastics and (ii) paper manufacture. (200534)

Approximately 1,416 hectares of industrial hemp are grown and processed in England, mainly for the bio-composite, construction, and animal bedding industries. Such end uses are driven by the market and represent the most cost beneficial application of this high value raw material.

The DEFRA renewable materials LINK programme is set up to assist consortia of academia and industry bring innovative technologies based on novel crops to market. New products based on hemp and hemp fibre would be eligible for consideration for LINK funding.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the merits of a licensing regime for farmers wishing to grow industrial hemp. (200535)

I have been asked to reply.

The United Kingdom already has a licensing regime for growing industrial hemp.