THE man who led a bid to bring the revolutionary bio-fuels industry to Hartlepool and east Durham has picked up a top honour.
The Hartlepool Mail first revealed in 1994 how John Seymour was hoping to turn bio-diesel into a major industry for the area.
His plan was to see farmers in the area grow rape seed – the raw product for the fuel – and for a processing and distribution plant to be set up.
Since then, he has led calls for another trailblazing green scheme to be brought to the area. It would have involved farmers in Hartlepool and east Durham setting up processing plants on their land to create energy out of animal dung and waste food.
Now Mr Seymour has been inducted into the fellowship as an associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies due to his “extensive work and development in the industry over the last 20 years”.
The award was presented to Mr Seymour at a ceremony in the House of Lords by Lord Plumb of Coleshill, the former president of the National Farmers Union and president of the European Parliament.
The award recognises his role as one of the founders of Redcar-based Northeast Biofuels along with his catalyst role between the agricultural and petro-chemicals industries, which has helped Teesside become a major biofuels hub in the UK.
Mr Seymour, who is also a farmer of land north of Easington, said: “I am delighted to receive the award on behalf of not only myself but also the cluster of companies I have worked with to ensure the North-East region continues to lead the way.
“Having worked in this field for more than 20 years, I have seen major milestones in both the agricultural and biofuel industries being achieved. At Northeast Biofuels we continue to do both considerable research and development and promote the North-East, as the region in which to produce biofuels.
“To receive the accolade from one of the leading agricultural figures such as Lord Plumb was a great honour.”
The prestigious award goes to people who are judged to have made a significant contribution to agriculture and is awarded only to people who can demonstrate achievement in a range of practices from practical farming to the development of new husbandry practices.
Achievement also has to be shown in areas like research, use of technology, economic, educational and admin benefits which have led to the understanding, efficiency and well-being of agriculture.
Northeast Biofuels is a consortium of cluster member companies, which work together to continue to grow and promote the region as the leading biofuels hive-of-activity.