The head of the government’s Biomass Task Force has warned that widespread ignorance threatens the future of Britain’s fledgling renewable energy sector.

Ben Gill, who recently spent 18 months investigating the sector, said: “The reality is that the revenue stream from selling biomass, woodchips or any of these products as an energy source is cheaper than gas and cheaper than oil – and by a long way.”

The former NFU president was speaking to a Cambridge conference of farmers and landowners organised by the Country Land and Business Association and Renewables East, the renewable energy agency for the East of England.

There was widespread ignorance about the benefits of biofuels – and this sometimes extended to the highest levels of government, said Sir Ben.

“We need a single consistent message between government departments,” he told delegates on Tuesday (29 Nov).

“Tony Blair may say one thing but then you get the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister saying something completely different in total ignorance.”