1.8% of arable land used for bioenergy in 2011

Approximately 109,000ha of UK arable land planted in 2010 was grown for the production of bioenergy and biofuels in 2011.

New experimental statistics on the amount of land used in the UK to produce biomass for the heat, power and transport fuel markets – published by DEFRA – reveal only 1.8% of UK arable land planted in 2010 was used for this sector.

In 2011, approximately 8,000ha of oilseed rape, 14,000ha of sugar beet and 75,00ha of wheat were used to produce just over 1.3m tonnes of feedstock for the UK road transport market.

In England, 9,000ha of miscanthus and 3,00ha of short rotation coppice were grown for electricity production. In addition, around 200,000 tonnes of straw (2% of typical production) was used as fuel in English biomass power stations in 2011-12.

Commenting on the figures, David Turley from bioeconomy consultant NNFCC said the figures only told half the story because they did not contain detailed information on the export of crops for biofuel production – an important trading dynamic for the UK market.

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