To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) meat and bone meal, (b) coppiced wood and (c) other biomass was burnt in order to provide a direct source of useful energy (i) five years ago and (ii) at the present time; and how much he predicts will be used for this purpose in five years time.
Five years ago the use of these materials for industrial-scale energy production was minimal. Current estimated usage in England is as follows:
650,000 tonnes of meat and bone meal (over the next three years) short-rotation coppice from 1,500 hectares of farmland
200,000 tonnes of straw, 720,000 tonnes of chicken litter and 330,000 oven dried tonnes of forest biomass per annum.
Usage in five years' time will depend on market developments and the success of a range of Government and other initiatives. For example, the Energy Crops Scheme, which is part of the England Rural Development Programme, could support the establishment of 20–25,000 hectares of short-rotation coppice and miscanthus on farmland over the seven years of the programme. The Government see biomass as playing an important and increasing role in the development of renewable sources of heat and power generation.