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UK canals to be used for bioenergy transport

Canals throughout the UK might soon play a part in bioenergy production as energy company Dalkia says the waterways could be used to deliver biomass.

The company already uses the Aire and Calder Navigation canal system, which is located in Yorkshire, to transport wood.

Hundreds of years ago the canals were used to transport 40 million tonnes of cargo around the country each year, whereas today only about 1.5 million tonnes of freight is transported using this method.

However, this could soon change as Britain finds ways to meet the EU bioenergy target of 15% of energy derived from renewable sources by 2020.

The reason why the canals have not been popular in recent years is because the mode of transport is slower than alternative methods such as road trains.

Bioenergy companies such as Dalkia however believe that the environmental benefits can overcome the lack of speed, and British Waterways believes the amount of cargo being shipped in this manner is set to rise.