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UK energy minister: ‘Biofuels shouldn’t be detached’

During a radio debate on 6 March UK energy minister John Hayes said biofuels were part of an overall energy mix needed by the country, not a stand alone concern.

Hayes and former government chief scientist Sir David King were part of a BBC Radio Four debate on renewable energy. King, mirroring concerns over indirect land use change throughout Europe, said trees chopped down for biofuels use meant that land could not be used for food crops.

King also called into question the UK’s capabilities to produce enough trees for required biomass production. He believes the levels of imported timber needed would outweigh current coal imports.

‘It is all very well having these slightly detached, bourgeois views but we have to deal with the practicalities,’ revealed Hayes. ‘It is my principal responsibility to keep the lights on and, if they go off, it’s no good me saying “it was for the right reasons”. Biofuels are part of an energy mix that is going to keep the lights on.’