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Possible new fuel source examined

The potential of new biomass energy crops is being explored by the Department of Agriculture.

Officers have started planting a trial plot of short rotation willow coppice at Meary Veg, Santon, with a second to follow at Knockaloe Farm.

The department is looking at the effectiveness and potential of farm-grown fuel sources, including short rotation coppice, as an alternative crop for Manx farmers.

Agriculture Minister Phil Gawne says, while such a trial would only have a limited initial effect, it could be developed as one of a number of sources to meet the Island’s future energy needs:

He told Manx Radio:

"A lot depends on what we continue to do with our agriculture in the Isle of Man.

"Quite clearly there have been concerns expressed, particularly from the farming community, about the profitability of farming [and] clearly the department has come up with various strategies in recent years to try and address the concerns of farmers.

"The one potential here, and I must stress at the moment it is only potential, is for growing biomass as a fuel crop."

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