Friends of the Earth, businesses, farmers and trade associations, disputed claims by the Biomass Task Force that a long�term incentive for renewable heat is �unworkable' and called on the government not to close the door on the idea of a renewable heat obligation.

The government taskforce, in its report published today on the future of biomass, dismissed the idea of a renewable heat obligation despite a recommendation for exactly the same mechanism by the Royal Commission only last year. The taskforce has ignored calls from the very businesses and the farmers it is supposed to be helping.

The proposal for grants may be helpful in the short- term however; businesses and farmers need the assurance of a stable, long-term framework of support. Without this, businesses will be unwilling to invest in biomass technology and farmers will be less likely to plant slow-growing biomass crops such as willow. A private members bill being introduced by Mark Lazarowicz MP has its second reading on 11 November, contains a clause calling for a renewable heat obligation. This bill, if allowed to progress, will allow further detailed discussion of the idea endorsed by so many stakeholders, which they feel has not been given a fair chance.

Friends of the Earth’s Climate Campaigner, Katie Elliott said: “Supporting renewable heat is going to be critical in the fight against climate change. The Government is struggling to meet its carbon dioxide targets and should be listening to the very businesses and farmers who will be investing in renewable heat. An obligation would promote sustainable technologies across the board, which is ultimately what we need.”