Green parties not 'chipper' about first British flight fuelled by used fat

Ruth Doherty
Green parties not 'chipper' about first British flight fuelled by used fat
Green parties not 'chipper' about first British flight fuelled by used fat


British holidaymakers this week became the first to fly in a plane fuelled by used chip pan oil.

Thomson Airways hailed the 'landmark', which saw 232 passengers flown from Birmingham to Lanzarote on a twin-engined plane operated on a 50/50 mix of traditional Jet A1 fuel and Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids.

But the first commercial biofuels flight ever from a UK airport was not met with such praise from environmental activists, who staged a naked protest at the airport.

A group called Plane Stupid painted themselves in red, and became human banners printing statements like 'Biofuels Aren't Green' on their bodies.

They insist that huge chunks of the rainforest are being destroyed to make way for biofuel plantations.

The cooking oil for Thomson was collected from hotel and restaurant kitchens, before going through a special processing treatment.

Carl Gissing, director of customer service at Thomson Airways, said the company were 'proud to be leading the way with the first commercial biofuel flights', and hoped that it would lead to the industry and government investing in developing fuels that produce less carbon emissions.

Thomson Airways managing director Chris Browne said: 'We firmly believe the adoption of sustainable biofuels by airlines will help achieve the government's carbon budget which commits the UK to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2025.

'Sustainable biofuel has the potential to reduce aviation emissions by up to 80% in the long term.'

But, while this might be true, Friends of the Earth point out that biofuels themselves create their own environmental and social problems.

Plane Stupid protester Chris Cooper told the Daily Mail: 'Thomson seem to be acknowledging that we can't continue business as usual in the face of the current climate emergency.

'It's a shame their solution is to make matters worse.

'Vast tracts of rainforest, eco systems vital to halting climate change, are currently being trashed to make way for biofuel plantations.

'Land that grows food is being stolen from some of the world's poorest people so that it can start feeding planes. It's a disaster.'

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