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UK biofuels indecision may mean decline, says industry

Concerns have been voiced over the sustainability of home-grown biofuels after a debate by MPs over their future proved inconclusive.

The Committee on Energy and Climate Change heard evidence from both industry and environmental groups, which argued against importing biofuels from abroad.

Speaking at the hearing, David Kennedy, chief executive of the government’s climate change advisers, the Committee on Climate Change admitted that there was a place for biofuels in the UK, but questioned how sustainable it could be.

Mr Kennedy said: “There is an important role as seen by the government,” he said. “We don’t disagree that there could be an important role, but there is a question about the sustainability and I think we can’t be confident that everything coming forward will be sustainable.”

A key sticking point is the handing over of land traditionally used to produce food stocks for the growth of biofuels.

According to Renewable Energy Focus, Clare Venner, head of renewable transport at the Renewable Energy Association said the delay was stifling investment in UK-produced biofuels. “It is extremely difficult for investors to say we know where we’re going and we can get on with it,” she said. “We need certainty.”

The Bioenergy Strategy, due to be published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), will address many of the issues currently faced by the industry, says Mrs Venner.