The government’s support for biomass
The government is relying on biomass, in combination with CCUS, to make a significant contribution to its net zero goals. For biomass to fulfil this role the government needs to be confident that the industry is meeting high standards of sustainability.
Its current monitoring arrangements rely on a combination of information provided by generators, third-party certification schemes and limited-assurance audit reports.
DESNZ considers this a proportionate approach that provides it sufficient confidence in the credibility of the sustainability criteria for existing schemes. But in our view the lack of an evaluation of how effective these arrangements have been, particularly given the long supply chains involved, means the government cannot demonstrate that its current arrangements are adequate to give it confidence industry is meeting sustainability standards.
The government must review the assurance arrangements for these schemes, including ensuring that it has sufficient resources to give it assurance over the billions of pounds involved.
It should apply the lessons from its experience to date to make sure it has clarity about the roles, responsibilities and effectiveness of the different organisations that provide assurance around sustainability.
Doing so will enable it to understand how its assurance approach will need to adapt to support its plans to strengthen sustainability criteria, and in response to increasing global demand for biomass.
Drax What is biomass?