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Market News

 June 29, 2010
Industry body warns biomass incentives could increase CO2

 Increased use of biomass energy plants in the UK due to government subsidies could lead to thousands of job losses and an increase in emissions, one industry body has claimed.

According to the Wood Panel Industries Federation (WPIF), the results of two reports show that 8,700 UK jobs are under threat and carbon emissions could increase by one per cent if wood continues to be used to produce electricity.

The body claims that current government studies encourage "the most carbon intensive use" of wood and that the price of wood could reach such a level that it puts those in the panelling industry out of a job.

Alastair Kerr, director general of the WPIF, said: "The Government is putting too great an emphasis on large scale wood-fired electricity and, by subsidising generators' ability to pay for fuel, they are threatening to destroy an industry that adds economic value and brings environmental benefit through carbon storage."

Recommendations are now being made through the Make Wood Work campaign for the government to change incentives so that domestic wood is not used as feedstock for the biomass industry and to promote the use crops which have the short-term ability to absorb carbon.

The Department of Energy and Climate change hopes that by the year 2020, 30 per cent of the UK's 15 per cent renewable energy target could come from biomass heat and electricity.