Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

SESSION 2002-03
6 November 2003 REPORT PUBLISHED ON BIOFUELS

6 November 2003 REPORT PUBLISHED ON BIOFUELS

Today, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published a report about biofuels on Thursday 6 November.  The report

  • says that the Government's biofuels policy, to the extent that it has one, appears muddled and unfocussed

  • expresses concern that different Government departments disagree about the main reason for increasing use of biofuels and about what level of Government support is necessary, and

  • concludes that until it is clear what the primary aim of the Government's biofuels policy is, it is difficult to judge how effective are the instruments by which it intends to achieve that policy.

The Chairman of the Committee, David Curry MP, says:

"Although we support a biofuels industry in principle, there are still some big questions to be answered by the Government:

"What is the purpose of supporting biofuels? Is it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or to support domestic farmers and processors?

"If it is the former, then importing feedstocks or fuel may make sound economic sense. If it is the latter then support directed at the sector may be required.

"The Government does not appear to have a robust, settled view on this essential question. Until it does so it cannot properly formulate policies. There is a real need for more information from and decisiveness on the part of Government: it needs to get its act together, or, in one of its own favourite phrases, get 'joined up'."

***********

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The Report follows an inquiry conducted between July and October 2003.  The terms of reference of the inquiry can be found in our Press Notice of 17 March 2003 (which is available on our website).

During the inquiry, the Committee took evidence from a range of interested bodies, including potential biofuels producers, farmers, and John Healey MP, the Economic Secretary and Lord Whitty, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 

The full report will be available on our website from around 3.30 pm on 6 November.