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Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether it is the Government's policy to reduce domestic food production in order to achieve renewable energy targets; and if he will make a statement. (296921)

As stated in the Renewable Energy Strategy, the UK biomass sector has the potential to expand without detrimental effects on food supplies and the environment if it is done in a sustainable manner. Greater recovery of wood from managed and unmanaged woodland, increasing the planting of perennial energy crops and better exploitation of the existing supply of organic waste materials, could make a significant contribution to our energy targets, particularly in the heat and electricity sectors. Imported biomass products are also likely to continue to play a role in the UK use of bio-energy.

The UK is working in the Global Bioenergy Partnership to help build international consensus on voluntary sustainability criteria and indicators for bio-energy and biofuels, including for potential impacts on food security.