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Biofuels

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 28 October 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to paragraph 4.150 of the UK Renewable Energy Strategy 2009, what assessment he has made of (a) increases in commodity prices and (b) effects on food security consequent upon using food crops for fuel. (295778)

The Government are assessing the combination of factors associated with the global food commodity price spike in 2008, and intends to publish the results early in 2010 as part of a food strategy package.

The relationship between biofuels and international food security is also being assessed through research focused on how to increase food production and access in an environmentally sustainable way, which will inform next year’s food strategy package; and longer term through the Government’s Foresight project on global food and farming futures, which is due to produce its final report in October 2010.

The EU Renewable Energy Directive requires the European Commission to monitor impacts of this policy on commodity prices and food security and the Commission shall, if appropriate, propose corrective action. The UK Government will continue to contribute to the EU policy debate. In addition, the UK is working in the Global Bioenergy Partnership to help develop voluntary sustainability criteria and indicators for bioenergy and biofuels, including for potential impacts on food security.