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Volume 502: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will estimate the carbon savings resulting from the growing of biofuels on land which had previously been (a) used to grow food crops and (b) set aside or unused; and if he will make a statement. (303289)

I have been asked to reply.

Currently, there is no agreed methodology for accurately accounting for the emissions from land currently used for food production, or set aside, if displaced by biofuel production. As such, the guidelines for reporting under the Renewable TransportFuels Obligation do not account for these emissions.

Under the recently adopted Renewable Energy Directive, the European Commission is required to review the impact of indirect land use change from biofuel production on green house gas emissions, and, if necessary, come forward with a methodology for addressing ways to minimise that impact by the end of 2010.

The Department for Transport has commissioned the development of an indirect land use change methodology through expert stakeholder input and will be making its findings available to the Commission in order to feed into the above-mentioned review.