Liberal Democrat manifesto - a mixed bag for biofuels and bioenergy

“Climate change and air pollution threaten our future,” reads the opening of the energy chapter in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, published on 17 May.

“But by investing in renewable energy and stopping the waste of energy and natural resources, we can protect our health and the environment, and boost the economy.”

The manifesto from Tim Farron’s party makes a number of bold claims on issues ranging from a second Brexit referendum to drug legislation. The most significant for the biofuels industry however, is a pledge to ban the sale of all diesel-fuelled cars and small vans in the UK by 2025.

All private hire vehicles and diesel buses licenced for urban areas meanwhile, would have to run on ultra-low or zero emission fuels within five years.

Like Labour’s published the day before, the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto places a strong emphasis on renewables and a low carbon economy without mentioning bioenergy sources specifically. Notably, the Liberal Democrats would aim to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030, but only explicitly reference solar and onshore wind.

The party also pledges investment in ‘cutting-edge’ technologies such as energy storage, smart grid technology, hydrogen technologies, off-shore wind and tidal power. Again, however, there is no explicit mention of bioenergy or biofuels.

A commitment to cutting waste meanwhile, would see a statutory recycling target of 70% implemented and food waste collections extended to at least 90% of homes by 2022.

One possible attraction for the bioenergy industry is a coherent tax and regulatory framework for landfill, incineration and waste collection, something which could encourage greater investment in waste-to-energy schemes.

 

This article was written by Daryl Worthington, assistant editor at Bioenergy Insight and Biofuels International