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Biofuels: Air Pollution

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of levels of emissions of (a) fine PM2.5 particulates and (b) PM10 particulates from biomass boilers once the biomass targets in the Renewable Energy Strategy are met. (295780)

The Government, in support of the development of the Renewable Energy Strategy (RES), carried out modelling of the effect of an increase in the use of biomass for heat and power on emissions of fine particles (PM2.5) and coarser particles (PM10) under a range of scenarios. Polices in the Renewable Energy Strategy will lead to emissions being at the lower end of the ranges quoted.

We estimate that, by 2020, the uptake of biomass predicted by the RES will result in the emission of an additional 1.7 to 6.3 ktonnes of fine particles (PM2.5). The 2007 UK emissions of PM2.5 were estimated at 82 ktonnes.

For the coarser particle size fraction, PM10, it is estimated that an additional 1.3 to 7.6 ktonnes may be emitted. Emissions of PM10 in the UK in 2007 were estimated at 135 ktonnes.

The results of the air quality impact assessment using these emission estimates are given on page 121 of the RES. In the strategy the Government stated that they will work with industry to introduce performance standards for biomass units and will consult on the level of performance required for boilers under the Renewable Heat Incentive.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has undertaken into particulate emissions from biomass boilers and their effect upon climate change. (296919)

The Government, in support of the development of the Renewable Energy Strategy (RES), carried out modelling of the effect of an increase in the use of biomass for heat and power on emissions of fine particles (PM2.5) and coarser particles (PM10) under a range of scenarios. Polices in the Renewable Energy Strategy will lead to emissions being at the lower end of the ranges quoted.

We estimate that by 2020 the uptake of biomass predicted by the RES will result in the emission of an additional 1.7 to 6.3 ktonnes of fine particles (PM2.5). The 2007 UK emissions of PM2.5 were estimated at 82 ktonnes.

For the coarser particle size fraction, PM10, it is estimated that an additional 1.3 to 7.6 ktonnes may be emitted. Emissions of PM10 in the UK in 2007 were estimated at 135 ktonnes.

The results of the air quality impact assessment using these emission estimates are given on page 121 of the RES. In the Strategy the Government stated that they will work with industry to introduce performance standards for biomass units and will consult on the level of performance required for boilers under the Renewable Heat Incentive.

No assessment has been made of the impact on climate change of these emissions.