The Government has rightly acknowledged the contribution that
renewables can make to UK energy supply but has not specified where
agriculture fits in with the plan, says the NFU.
In its Energy Review, the Government unveiled
plans to increase energy supply from renewables including biofuels,
biomass, biogas, solar, wind and wave energy with nuclear power
at the heart of the report. However, the report lacks detail on
how this will be implemented, often relying on a further six consultations – intentions
rather than specific actions.
The NFU is disappointed by the lack of emphasis on the role farmers
can play, with no separate levels set for bioenergy to help achieve
NFU President Peter Kendall said: “Although the report seems
full of good intentions, it fails to lay solid groundwork for the
developing UK bioenergy industry. Farmers are willing and able
to supply renewable energy but a firm lack of commitment and specific
targets is undermining this market.
“If the Government is serious about renewables it should
set separate targets for bioenergy for heat, electricity and fuel,
allowing the UK to move towards a cleaner, more secure energy source,
and to enable investors the confidence to develop the infrastructure
The European Environment Agency recently reported that 15 -16
per cent of EU energy could be met through domestic bioenergy production
without harming the environment. The NFU is questioning the Government’s
commitment to similar targets in the UK.
Mr Kendall said: “There is no single solution to meet the
UK energy demand of the future but a package of suitable solutions,
with the emphasis on renewables and domestic production, needs
to be found. While the UK continues to talk up renewables in comparison
with our EU counterparts, we’re completely off the pace.
“We will be interested in the findings of the Coal Forum
as UK Agriculture is keen to develop further green co-firing of
UK biomass material. We also welcome a review of planning to over
come problems of building renewable power stations.
“Bioenergy should play a full part in this mix and the Government
needs to set targets similar to the rest of the EU and not simply
rely on market forces to develop a demand for bioenergy.”
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