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Energy Crops

Volume 456: debated on Friday 2 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much of the wood fuel intake for the (a) Middlesbrough and (b) Lockerbie biomass energy plants is sourced from (i) existing woodlands and (ii) dedicated sources of energy crops; and what forecast he has made of trends in such sourcing over the next 10 years. (117698)

Both the Teesside and Lockerbie biomass energy plants are still under construction. Both are in receipt of grant funding from the Big Lottery under the Bioenergy Capital Grants Scheme. The grants do not require that a specific amount of feedstock should be sourced from existing woodland, but there is a requirement that the fuel supply includes a minimum proportion of energy crops.

In his statement on 12 December 2006, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State (David Miliband) confirmed the Government’s intention to continue to support energy crop planting under the next Rural Development Programme for England (2007-13). This is also the case for Scotland.

Forestry Commission England intend to publish a woodfuel strategy which will address the issue of increasing woodfuel available from existing woodlands. In Scotland the Scottish Executive is about to publish its biomass action plan and this will lay out its proposals for developing the bioenergy sector in Scotland. Long-term availability of biomass will also be considered in the UK biomass strategy which the Government intend to publish before May 2007.

Officials from Defra and the Forestry Commission hold regular discussions with those involved with feedstock procurement for these projects.