European business briefs: Aviation warning, biofuel partnership, Danish contract, Irish Green Flag awards

British Airways chief executive Rod Eddington this week urged the global aviation industry to work together to reduce its impact on climate change or face the risk of additional taxation. Speaking at the Aviation and Environment summit in Geneva, Mr Eddington said the industry must unite to develop an effective strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as well as promoting its past environmental achievements. If it does not, he warned, governments will view the industry as an easy target for taxes to fund non-aviation projects. Mr Eddington said: "The recent suggestion by French President Jacques Chirac that our industry can be used as a 'cash cow' to solve the problems of Africa is just the latest in a long series of proposals to tax or charge aviation with environmental levies in some way. If we are to resist damaging and punitive proposals of this sort, we need to define and promote our industry response more clearly." British Airways says that emissions trading is the most economically and environmentally effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions levels. The airline is currently trading emissions in a voluntary British government scheme and supports the inclusion of aviation into the European Union's emissions trading scheme from 2008.

Greenergy Fuels Ltd, a fuels business with annual sales of £1 billion and a leader in the supply of premium quality biofuels, announced this week that it has joined forces with shareholder Tesco to service the rapidly growing European biofuels market. The partnership with Tesco will enable Greenergy to extend its existing domestic and European biodiesel supply operations by building the UK’s largest single-line biodiesel production facility. Capitalised at over £10 million and scheduled to open Q2 2006, subject to the usual consents, the plant will initially have 100,000 tonnes per annum production capacity. Its intended location at Immingham on the Humber Estuary will allow cost effective distribution across the UK and into Europe with supply of rapeseed, the main oilseed for the facility, secured under existing contracts with the UK farming community.

Denmark’s Vestas has won its third large order from the US this year, sending the world’s biggest wind turbine maker’s share up as by 6%. The order for 83 units of its 1.8-megawatt V80 turbines for a plant in Washington has added a further 150MW to the company’s schedule. Following the order, Vestas will supply and commission the turbines, as well as provide warranty, maintenance and service support. Commissioning is currently set for December.

And finally, Batt O’Keeffe, TD, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government this week presented Green Flag awards to 18 schools at the An Taisce offices, Tailors Hall, Dublin. The Green Schools Programme is an international education programme that helps students to recognise the importance of environmental issues and take them more seriously in their personal and home lives. In total 1,937 Irish schools are registered for the programme, representing over 48% of all the schools in the country.

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