A cross-party group of MPs has said that the UK government would probably abandon the EU’s biomass land policy if it was not committed to it by EU law.
The group, part of the Environmental Audit Committee based in the UK, published its views in a House of Commons report entitled ‘EU and UK Environmental Policy’.
The report comes as the UK prepares for an EU referendum on whether it should stay in or come out of the EU.
The overriding message from the report was that EU membership had been positive for the UK and improved environmental standards in the country. However, the report highlighted conflicts between EU and UK environmental policy.
Citing a witness to the report, environmentalist, George Monbiot, said the increasing acreage devoted to maize in the UK for use in bioenergy has contributed to flooding. For example, crops used in the anaerobic digestion process.
According to the report, he explained that the reason maize acreage has grown from 1400 hectares in 1970 to 160,000 hectares is primarily due to subsidies for bioenergy.
Monbiot has “criticised the maths underpinning the idea that growing biogas maize actually saves any carbon at all; and the ridiculous double subsidies that support its production”.
However, the report then contradicts itself by referring to land used for crops used for biofuels.
The report states: “On a global scale this diversion of land from food production to crops for biofuels has raised food prices, contributed to food riots and increased hunger. The UK government would probably abandon this policy if not committed to it by EU law.”
This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight.