The Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) has today (26th January 2024) responded to the National Audit Office (NAO) report on the government’s support for Biomass.

Richard Coulson, Chair of the WRA, said:

“We welcome the NAO report, which states that the government needs to do more to demonstrate compliance with sustainability requirements when developing its support for large scale biomass. The report highlights those plants with long and complex supply chains, which are the minority, rightly or wrongly have caused concerns to some in respect of sustainability. We should acknowledge the valuable role these plants play in delivering low carbon baseload power to the UK and hope that the next consultation on biomass sustainability, due shortly, will answer those concerns because, as it stands, those issues unfortunately blemish the whole biomass industry.

“The report confirms that 66% of biomass feedstock supply came from domestic sources in 2022, waste wood-powered biomass plants being a perfect example of regional plants that deliver against the four pillars of the UK biomass strategy, particularly sustainability.  In 2022, the waste wood biomass sector used 2.7 million tonnes of waste wood which previously would have gone to landfill or non-domestic markets.  Waste wood used for biomass is not from forestry. It is lower quality post-consumer waste wood from households, the construction and demolition sector and commercial and industrial sources, making it a truly renewable source of heat & electricity.

“The Report highlights the main risks DESNZ will need to manage as it takes forward its Biomass Strategy, a major one being the need for Government Departments to work together to prioritise the use of the limited biomass available in the UK.  This is critical for waste wood biomass.

“The recently published announcement on government transitional support is only targeted at very large-scale plants over 100MW which is larger than all UK waste wood-powered plants.  We need clarity as a matter of urgency over future support for our sector, given that current ROCs support for biomass plant operators starts to end from 2027.

“We therefore urgently call on DESNZ and DEFRA to work together to ensure that regional waste wood biomass plants, using locally generated waste wood, which have been funded from the public purse can continue to operate.”

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