Biofuels Report "Illogical and Badly Informed"

UK - The NFU has rejected a call from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee for a moratorium on the Government's biofuel targets, and criticised the Committee's report as illogical and badly informed.
calendar icon 22 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

"Biofuels represent the only renewable alternative for replacing fossil fuels in transport and a way of tackling the one quarter of UK carbon emissions which transport is responsible for" said NFU President, Peter Kendall.

"UK Biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 53 per cent and UK wheat bioethanol by 64 per cent compared with their fossil fuel equivalents*

"Those savings can and should be improved. But for the Committee to conclude that, because the savings are small, they are not worth having at all, is illogical and ill-informed.
"Of course, biofuel crops must be produced sustainably, both at home and abroad, and of course we should be developing more efficient biofuel technologies and encouraging motorists to take other measures to reduce transport emissions.

Currently the UK is helping lead the way on sustainable biofuels with requirements published by the Department for Transport earlier this month detailing the strong standards which will need to be reached under the UK legislation.

"But motorist behavioural changes are notoriously difficult to achieve, the waste cooking oil by which the Committee sets such store is already being fully utilised, and if we don't do something to kick start a biofuel industry in this country we will be left hopelessly behind and never have the chance to develop second and third generation biofuels.

"The fact that the Committee says that 'current agricultural support for biofuels is unsustainable' when all agricultural support for biofuels has been abolished shows just how badly informed this report is.

"And to criticise biofuels for using land that could otherwise be growing food when, in virtually the same breath, the Committee calls for land to be taken out of food production and given over to forestry and habitat creation shows just how muddled their thinking is.

"The best thing for the Government to do with this report is to consign it to the dustbin of history and focus instead on the infinitely more balanced and better informed report published by the Royal Society on January 14 2008."

Chief Executive of the National Non-Food Crops Centre Dr Jeremy Tomkinson added: "Biofuels are the only means we have at present to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle exhausts. The UK Government is setting up world-leading policies to ensure that these benefits will be obtained. I would urge the Government to continue on this path. In this way they will encourage the continuing development of sustainable biofuels that significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of transport fuels."

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