Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Session 2005-06

Thursday 16 February 2006

Thursday 16 February 2006

Climate change: the role of bioenergy

Evidence Sessions

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has decided to hold the following oral evidence session in relation to its inquiry into renewable energy: the role of bioenergy (biomass and biofuels). This is the first of a series of linked inquiries into aspects of climate change.

Wednesday 1 March 2006

3.45 pm National Farmers' Union

4.45 pm (approx) Renewable Energy Association

Corrigendum: Please note that the evidence starts 15 minutes later than originally advertised at 3.45pm and not 3.30pm.

Further oral evidence will be taken on the afternoon of Wednesday 8 March 2006; details to follow. The schedule for subsequent oral evidence sessions will be announced shortly.



The terms of reference of this inquiry were published on 15 December 2005.

Evidence was requested on the following points:

What is the real scope for biomass and biofuels to contribute to tackling climate change?  What proportion of the UK's energy and transport fuel needs could they provide?

How cost-effective are biomass and biofuels in comparison with other sources of renewable energy?

How do biofuels compare to other renewables, and with conventional fossil-fuels, in terms of carbon savings over their full life-cycle?

Not all biomass is equal-potential carbon savings depend on, for instance, farming practice. What can be done to ensure energy crops are sustainably produced?

What impact will UK Government and EU actions have in increasing demand for, and production of, biomass and biofuels?

What level of financial and policy support do bioenergy technologies require in order to achieve the Government's targets for renewable energy?

What impact might an increase in energy crops in the UK and the rest of the EU have on biodiversity, production of food crops and land use and the environment more generally?

Does bioenergy production constitute the best use of UK land for non-food crops? Should UK and EU policy focus on increasing domestic production of energy crops and biomass, or are there merits in importing biomass for energy production, or raw feedstock or refined biofuel, from outside the EU?

What more can be done to make more efficient use, as an energy source, of the by-products of agriculture and forestry (e.g. wood waste and other organic waste)?

What lessons can be learned from other countries' experience in the production and use of bioenergy?

The Committee normally meets in a committee room at Westminster. There are often last minute changes of room and meetings may be held either in the Palace of Westminster or in Portcullis House. Those wishing to attend should check the venue by calling the committee office information line the day before the hearing on 020 7219 2033. Website: www.parliament.uk/efracom