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MP defends region's biofuel industry
A NORTH-EAST MP has defended the biofuels industry from proposed changes which could threaten thousands of regional jobs.
Redcar MP Ian Swales defended the industry against Oppositon MPs when they used a Westminster debate to urge the Government to consider more alternative sources of biofuels that do not use crop-based products.
The Ensus bioethanol plant at Wilton, near Redcar employs 100 staff and supports an estimated 2,000 farming, haulage and engineering jobs in the supply chain.
The £250m factory, recently bought by German-based CropEnergies AG, opened in February 2010, and uses wheat to create bioethanol, which is added to petrol, with excess protein and grain used to make animal feed.
However, the site has been plagued by problems including foul emmissions which led to nearby residents being paid compensation, as well as a series of lengthy shut-downs following poor harvests, rising energy costs and cheap foreign competition. It re-opened earlier this month, after it had been mothballed for six months.
Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister Richard Burden welcomed the recent vote in the European Parliament which proposed a cut in the amount of crops used to produce biofuels. However, this could have serious consequences for the Ensus business.
Mr Swales said: “There is a widespread ignorance regarding the sustainability of the bioethanol made in my constituency which is unfortunately shared among many Labour MPs.
"As well as producing bioethanol, the Ensus Plant also produces carbon dioxide, which is captured for use in the food and drink industry, and high-grade animal feed which is highly prized in the agricultural industry.
“The high protein animal feed replaces imports mostly grown on former rainforest land. The plant is very important to the region, it is an excellent example of a new chemical industry coming to the North-East and it creates valuable jobs. I will continue to stand up for employees at Ensus and work hard to dispel the many myths surrounding its sustainability.”
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