- Planting 30 - 35 kha/yr of second generation crops (Miscanthus, Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow and Short Rotation Forestry (SRF)) would keep the UK on the trajectory to deliver a bioenergy sector of the scale needed to help cost-effectively decarbonise the UK energy system.
- Due to the seasonal nature of bioenergy crop planting, management and harvesting, the majority of job opportunities will be part-time, but are complimentary to the seasonal demands of other roles in the agricultural and forestry sectors, particularly arable farming.By 2032, a 30 kha/yr planting rate could create around 8,100 job opportunities in the busiest months (or 4,300 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs when averaged across the year). By the 2050s, around 16,700 opportunities could be created during peak periods (9,100 FTE jobs across the year).
- The UK is not currently in a position to deliver a planting rate of 30 kha/yr – the total planted area of Miscanthus and SRC willow has remained at around 10 kha in recent years with a limited number of players in the market. Investment is needed in the production of plant breeding materials, including research into new establishment techniques to reduce costs. Investment is also needed in training and specialised equipment for planting and harvesting.
- As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, there is an opportunity to restructure farming support in a way which encourages the sustainable growth of the UK biomass sector. This could place a value on the wider environmental benefits growing second generation energy crops can make to the farming landscape.