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August 11, 2003 12:00 AM

Petroleum Refinery.Mick Bates AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson, today welcomed the harvesting of the first oilseed rape crop in Britain that will be made into 'home-grown' fuel for vehicles.

He said: "This is a great leap forwards for a technology I have long advocated; 'bio-diesel' is a truly green replacement for conventional diesel; I have been lobbying the Labour Assembly Government (LAG) long and hard to provide incentives to open a bio-diesel plant in Wales - maybe this will provide them with the evidence that this technology can protect the environment AND create jobs".

This green fuel is essentially vegetable oil; vehicles can run on a blend of bio-diesel and conventional diesel without modification. These vehicles then produce 5% less carbon dioxide emissions. Under present plans a 'bio-petrol' equivalent could be on station forecourts by 2005.

"Bio-diesel could go a long way to helping the government meet its Kyoto Treaty obligations and the UK Energy White Paper", said Mr Bates, "I believe strongly that Wales could take the lead in this market but for the inertia of the present Labour Assembly Government".


* The company now issuing contracts for oilseed rape harvesting for bio-diesel is Greenenergy, http://www.greenergy.com/eng.htm

* The Institute for Public Policy Research's report on low carbon cars can be found at http://www.ippr.org/publications/index.php?book=371

* You can find information about bio-diesel outlets in your area from http://www.biodieselfillingstations.co.uk/outlets.htm