Policy Guidance - Wood Biofuel - Scotland

Scottish Policy

The Scottish Government is committed to cutting CO2 emissions by 42% by 2020, and at least 80% by 2050. The Government has also placed a high priority on achieving a target of 11% of heat demand to be sourced from renewables by 2020. The role of biomass is key to meeting this renewable energy target, as woodfuel biomass currently provides around 90% of Scotland’s Renewable Heat Output.

The Biomass Action Plan (2005) is to set out a coordinated programme for the development of the biomass sector in Scotland. The aim of the plan is to ensure that Scotland’s biomass resource is properly supported and exploited, and that it delivers additional economic benefits.

The Scottish Government prefers to see biomass deployed in the heat-only or combined heat and power schemes, particularly off gas-grid, at a scale appropriate to make best use of the available heat, and of local supply. There are several reasons for this:

• Evidence suggests that the use of biomass for heat-only or combined heat and power use will be essential in order to meet Scotland’s target for renewable heat.

• Concentrating biomass use in areas which are off the gas-grid will deliver the highest carbon savings (given that in most cases it will be displacing oil or coal), and can also make the greatest impact on alleviating fuel poverty.

• The government are not categorically opposed to large scale development, however; operators of large biomass stations will generally find it more difficult to use the heat generated and to source supply locally.

• To make efficient use of the available heat and local supply, developments should be scaled appropriately. This will also enhance the security of supply, minimize carbon emissions and reduce the impact on other sectors competing for biomass material.

In all cases, plans should confirm that the development of new biomass energy plants will be supported subject to local landscape, built and cultural heritage, amenity (including public health and safety), environmental and transportation issues being satisfactorily addressed.