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Strong support for bioenergy in the UK but more work needs to be done to increase awareness of the benefits according to ETI survey

7 December 2016

Hannah Evans
Hannah Evans Practice Manager, Bioenergy – Energy Systems Catapult

Delivering bioenergy on a large scale will be dependent on levels of public support, not just in terms of ensuring new bioenergy generation facilities can obtain planning permission, but also in determining the number of farmers and foresters prepared to plant new bioenergy crops, and whether individuals are willing to install biomass boilers in their homes or workplaces.

It is encouraging that levels of support for bioenergy compare favourably with other renewable energy technologies and the public associate bioenergy with a wide range of positive features, particularly the fact that it can be generated from waste materials and is also seen as a renewable source of energy that can reduce the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels.

There were concerns that biomass feedstocks could compete with other land uses, such as food production, which is why it is important to demonstrate that biomass feedstocks can be planted successfully on otherwise low-yielding land, and when sited considerately, can complement, rather than compete with, food production.

Building a UK bioenergy sector with continued public support will need greater support for domestic production and increased awareness of the benefits it can bring.

The UK Government is the most popular choice to lead the development of the bioenergy sector. The public also value the role of scientists, academics, environmental groups and consumer/industry watchdogs, as independent, trustworthy sources of information. This presents an opportunity for the Government to work with a variety of organisations to increase awareness and understanding of bioenergy, in parallel to developing the bioenergy sector in the UK.

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