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New biomass sustainability criteria loom

Biomass electricity will produce over 70 per cent greenhouse gas savings compared with fossil fuel alternatives, under changes made by the government to ensure the sustainability of wood-fuel used to create energy.

From April 2015, the biomass industry – which is worth over £1bn in new investment and supports more than 3,000 jobs – will be required to demonstrate their fuel is sustainable or lose financial support.

Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: “The coalition is committed to delivering clean, affordable and secure energy for consumers.

“This includes an important role for biomass power as part of the UK’s energy mix.

“The new criteria will provide the necessary investor certainty and, crucially, ensure that the biomass is delivered in a transparent and sustainable way.”

The tough new criteria for sustainable forest management are based on a range of issues such as:

  • Sustainable harvesting rates;
  • Biodiversity protection; and
  • Land use rights for indigenous populations.

Organisations who do not comply with the new requirements could see financial support withheld.

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