Treasury written question – answered on 4th July 2012.

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Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Conservative, Tiverton and Honiton

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the economy if the wood panel industry were to be displaced by the biomass industry; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The wood panel industry makes a valuable contribution to the economy and to employment. The publication “Forestry Statistics 2011” shows that in 2009 the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the wood panel industry was £0.17 billion.

A full assessment of the use of biomass, including the potential implications for the wood panel industry, is contained in the document UK Bioenergy strategy published on 25 April 2012. The Government's policy is set out as follows;

“Support for bioenergy should aim to maximise the overall benefits and minimise costs (quantifiable and non-quantifiable) across the economy. Policy makers should consider the impacts and unintended consequences of policy interventions on the wider energy system and economy, including non-energy industries.”

The document also presents evidence that

“Optimal GHG (greenhouse gas) scenarios generally involve use of forest for the production of both material products and bioenergy, with re-use and recycling wherever possible.”

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