The pace at which biofuels are introduced into the UK transport sector should be slowed, according to the 'Gallagher review' from the Government's Renewable Fuels Agency.
In the review Professor Gallagher states that 'there is a future for a sustainable biofuels industry. But feedstock production must avoid agricultural land that would otherwise be used for food production ... and the introduction of biofuels should be significantly slowed until adequate controls to address displacement effects are implemented.'
The report suggests that the target for road transport fuels to include 5 per cent biofuels by 2010/11 should be extended to 2013/14 and only increased thereafter 'if biofuels are shown to be demonstrably sustainable.' It also says that the EU's separate target of a 10 per cent inclusion rate by 2020 is not justified, and should be cut to 5 to 8 per cent.
Only 1 per cent of the world's crop land is given over to biofuel production at preesnt, and the review found it was probable that there was enough agricultural land available in the world to grow food and fuels at least until 2020. The review found that biofuels would contribute about 15 per cent to rises in the price of grain in Europe by 2020, compared with 2006 prices, if current biofuels targets were followed through.
The review also found, however, that the price of vegetable oils and oilseed was vulnerable to competition from biofuels, and would rise as much as 70 per cent in the US by 2020. compared with 2006 prices, if biofuel targets were met.