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Planning: Renewable Energy

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will (a) adapt planning policy to promote the use of wood reserves as a renewable energy source and (b) ask the Biomass Task Force to examine the contribution of (i) wood and (ii) wood processing to the Government's renewable energy targets. (185496)

[holding answer 7 February 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 7 February 2008, Official Report, column 1332W, about planning policy for renewable energy. In line with a recommendation in the final report of the Biomass Task Force (2005), the Forestry Commission through their Woodfuel Strategy for England (2007) examined the steps which would need to be taken in order to increase the contribution wood and wood processing make to the Government's renewable energy targets. The strategy sets a target to release an additional two million tonnes of woody biomass into the supply chain, annually, by 2020. In achieving the target, the focus will be on the 60 per cent. of English woodlands that are currently under-managed as bringing these woodlands back into management will deliver a number of additional benefits including boosting currently threatened woodland flora and fauna. Wood processing products will also form part of the mix, as will waste wood and arboricultural arisings.