The EU Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (the Renewable Energy Directive) sets a 20% mandatory target for the use of energy from renewable sources by 2020. Increased use of biomass has potentially wide-ranging impacts on biodiversity as it includes the: ‘biodegradable fraction of products, waste and residues from biological origin from agriculture, forestry and related industries including fisheries and aquaculture, as well as the biodegradable fraction of industrial and municipal waste’.
It is likely that Member States will aim for the use of biomass for heat and electricity to make a significant contribution to meeting these targets. Two workshops held in Cambridge and Edinburgh during July and August 2009 developed a set of principles for sustainability of biomass for heat and power for policy and decision makers. These were endorsed by CCI organisations, WWF, the Forestry Commission and the Environment Agency and sent as recommendations to the UK givernment's Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to inform the development of sustainability schemes for biomass.