In March 2022 the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and its partners (Sciencewise and UKRI) commissioned the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and its partner, Eunomia, to deliver a public dialogue to explore the UK public’s views on the role of biomass in achieving net zero. The evidence gathered through this dialogue and presented in the accompanying report, informed the development and implementation of the UK Government’s Biomass Strategy and associated policy development, as well as plans for future engagement.
A total of 100 participants from across the UK were be involved in a number of online workshops for the project, 31 came from ‘affected communities’, broadly defined in the recruitment questionnaire to include anyone affected by biomass sourcing, or bio-based products/bioenergy production, in their local area. A range of stakeholders also took part in interviews and workshops which helped to inform the development of the online workshops.
The dialogue was commissioned in April 2022 with the sessions taking place online across June and July 2022. The dialogue had the following objectives:
- To engage a diverse group of participants, broadly refective of the UK public, in topic areas relating to the development of the Biomass Strategy.
- To explore and understand participants’ aspirations and concerns in relation to biomass sourcing (both domestic and imports), production and use across the economy.
- To understand what values and perspectives inform participants’ views to inform and help refne any future communications and engagement.
- To defne conditions of use in relation to sustainability frameworks (which could include areas like land, biodiversity, environmental impacts, ecosystem services, emissions, and social criteria) to help shape policy development in this space.
- To determine participants’ views of using biomass, particularly through BECCS, as a negative emissions technology in achieving net zero, to inform policy development in this area.
- To help shape other aspects of government policy and guidance as part of the forthcoming Biomass Strategy and inform future engagement.
The project was conducted in line with Sciencewise Guiding Principles and will be evaluated by Ursus Consulting. The project was overseen by an Oversight Group, which is made up of members from across industry, academia and environmental NGOs.