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Volume 475: debated on Thursday 8 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice his Department's chief scientist has given on the sustainability of the Government's policy on biofuels; and if he will make a statement. (204165)

DEFRA's chief scientific adviser gives advice to Ministers on all aspects of biofuels policy and wider climate change strategy.

The Government's commitment to biofuels is subject to their sustainability. The renewable transport fuel obligation includes a robust carbon and sustainability reporting mechanism to encourage fuel suppliers to source the most sustainable biofuels. We recognise that reporting is only a first step: we are working with the European Commission to ensure that forthcoming EU legislation includes robust mandatory sustainability criteria for biofuels.

A review of the indirect impacts of biofuels was commissioned by the Department for Transport, and is being led by the Renewable Fuels Agency under Professor Gallagher. DEFRA's chief scientific adviser, along with other Government chief scientific advisers, will peer-review the findings prior to publication. The results of the review will inform policy on the social and environmental sustainability of biofuels.