In the news: John Smith talks to British Farmer & Grower

British Farmer & Grower

As NFU county delegate for Lincolnshire, John Smith has been featured in this month's British Farmer & Grower magazine giving his opinion on recent negative headlines surrounding diesel. Here's what he said.

Don't demonise diesel

Have you all noticed that on every recent news programme, newspaper front page and of course digital media channels, poor old diesel fuel is being totally demonised! I am just a tractor driver, certainly not an environmental scientist, but is this persecution fair?

Diesel engines fuel our farms and the world around us; have a look at your farm. From the combines, tractors, telehandler, pickup truck, even the concrete mixer and maybe the mower; all are fuelled by diesel. The huge ships with 50,000 hp engines that transport goods for next to nothing around the world are all diesel; trains, buses, lorries, hospital generators, I could go on and on. (Did I hear someone say you're already going on?).

What's the problem? Well, the main issues appears to be the particulates given off by these engines, which can and do cause health problems if ingested regularly. My concern would be that any legislation introduced to protect the residents of our city centres would catch us too.

One of the reasons modern diesel engines are so expensive is the huge investment in exhaust treatment systems, such as SCR and DPF, which have taken the industry to Tier4 Final status. I will not evey try to explain all this because this article would be of biblical proportions!

The alternatives? For our industry, currently we have little choice. The petrol engine disappeared from farms in the 1950s as it cannot pull the skin off a rice pudding and of course costs a fortune to run. Hydrogen, hybrids, electric: all on the way but not here yet.

Rudolf Christian Diesel was a German born in Paris in 1858; a true European genius. Let's hear it for good old Rudolf!

Originally published in British Farmer & Grower (August 2017). Visit the NFU website to access the whole magazine.

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