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Back Biomass December E-Bulletin



Back Biomass News Bulletin - 7 December 2012

In Brief

  • DECC consultation on biomass sustainability criteria closes
  • Energy Bill brings much needed certainty for investors
  • Government’s Autumn Statement announcement on Wednesday all about gas
  • Invitation to Back Biomass Christmas Parliamentary Reception with Lord Browne and Tom Greatrex MP (Shadow Energy Minister) on December 18th at 3.30pm


Politics and Policy



Both parts of DECC’s consultation on sustainability and affordability of biomass have now closed. As the Government considers its position in the coming months, demonstrating the sustainability of different forms of biomass is absolutely crucial to ensure future viability of the industry.
In response to a number of inaccurate and misleading stories in the media, the Back Biomass campaign has published a Sustainability Fact Sheet which you can also find on our website The Fact Sheet rebuts three key myths on 1) carbon accounting 2) process and transportation and 3) the effect on other industries such as construction. Please feel free to use this Fact Sheet to underline that sustainably sourced biomass leads to substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions, as well as having a beneficial impact on forest management and biodiversity. If you have a great story to tell on sustainable biomass, the Back Biomass campaign wants to hear from you! Email us at  

Back Biomass attends APPG meeting on ‘Bioenergy and biomass: Opportunities for waste and energy’

On Tuesday 27th November the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group and the Sustainable Resource All Party Group held a joint event on biomass with guests including Liz McDonnell from the Bioenergy team in DECC, Dr Tim Forrest from E.ON Climate and Renewables, Dr Jonathan Scurlock from the National Farmers Union and Harry Huyton from the RSPB. For further detail on this discussion please see the end of the Newsletter.

Energy Bill

On Thursday 29 November, Energy Secretary Ed Davey ended months of speculation by publishing the long awaited Energy Bill. These radical reforms, designed to kick start investment in low carbon infrastructure, have been widely reported as a victory for the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary over the Conservative Chancellor George Osborne and have been largely welcomed by low carbon industry.
The Bill explicitly commits the Government to meeting its 2020 renewable targets through an increased cap in the levy control framework budget which incentivises low carbon generation, including biomass power and CHP. There is also welcome detail on how the new incentive mechanism (Contracts for Difference) will work in practice. You can find the Policy overview here.


DECC also outlined new plans to tackle deforestation as part of the UK’s international climate change commitments. Further detail can be found here.

Autumn Statement

As expected, the Autumn Statement on Wednesday had little new direct financial impact on the energy sector. However, the Chancellor did announce, in addition to the consultation on shale gas tax breaks announced in October, the establishment of a new Office for Unconventional Gas Regulation, to develop ‘safe but simple’ regulation for the industry. Osborne also announced the publication of a Gas Generation Strategy by DECC, including an expectation of 26GW of new gas generating capacity by 2030.

Reminder about the Back Biomass Christmas Parliamentary Reception with Lord Browne of Madingley and Shadow Minister for Energy Tom Greatrex MP 


  • Tuesday 18th December 15:30pm to 17:00pm in The Cholmondley Room, House of Lords, SW1A 0PW 
  • The Back Biomass Parliamentary Christmas Reception is an opportunity for Parliamentary and industry stakeholders to come together to celebrate the year’s achievements and discuss future challenges. We are most grateful to our guests of honour, Lord Browne of Madingley and Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex MP, who will both address the reception
  • Please RSVP to or call 020 3047 2456

What you can do to help the Back Biomass campaign!


  • Email members of the Government urging them to fully support biomass power and CHP to deliver the new infrastructure, economic growth and balanced energy mix the UK needs for a sustainable future
  • Download and share our Sustainability Fact Sheet and other key documents on the benefits of biomass from our website
  • Come to the Back Biomass Christmas Parliamentary Reception and show your support for the biomass industry
  • Visit and join the Back Biomass Campaign by subscribing to our mailing list
  • If you have helpful data, case studies or videos to show the benefits of biomass, please email us at

Further detail on APPG Discussion

In wide-ranging discussion, Liz McDonnell (DECC) highlighted the benefits of biomass in terms of versatility and job provision. She also questioned Timothy Searchinger’s model which she said incorrectly extrapolated data from other countries to the UK. Tim Forrest from E.ON estimated that his company had invested over €1bn in renewables over the past year, so a stable investment environment was essential. Nigel Adams MP questioned RSPB’s opposition to large scale biomass, saying that the biomass conversion of both Eggborough and Drax coal fired power stations was essential to keep the lights on. On carbon accounting, DECC recognised that there were a lot of myths flying around about carbon impact which needed eradicating. They also said that forests may need to take a short term carbon hit in order to get a long term carbon gain and, become in turn better managed forests. 

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