Slow down on biofuels

Report urges “go-slow” on biofuels

The introduction of biofuels into the UK transport and industry sectors should be slowed down, says a new report from the Government’s Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA).

The so-called Gallagher Review, conducted by RFA chairman Ed Gallagher, was commissioned by transport secretary Ruth Kelly in February this year. The spur for the review was the suggestion that increasing demand for biofuels might indirectly cause carbon emissions to increase because of land use change. There were also concerns that demand for biofuels might be driving food insecurity and food price rises.
In the review just published, Professor Gallagher insists that biofuels can play a role in tackling climate change and asserts “there is a future for a sustainable biofuels industry…but, there is a strong need for further evidence and monitoring to determine the sustainability and wider impacts of biofuels.”

In particular, he calls for a slowdown in the rate at which biofuels are introduced.
Two years ago the Organic Research Centre urged the Government and others to “Beware of biofuels.” We warned that vast swathes of mono-crop biofuel fields could be an unwelcome and biodiversity – wrecking feature of the UK countryside. Worse still, we said, biofuels were in danger of accelerating the loss of forest and other natural habitats in countries from Brazil to Indonesia – so called “deforestation diesel”. We are pleased to see the Government catching up on our thinking.

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