A leaked report has shown that Britain's government pressed back on European measures that would limit the amount of biomass that could be used towards each member state's renewable energy targets. The news comes as scientists and pressure groups have warned that biomass - always viewed as a 'bridging' technology rather than a pure renewable energy technology - could, in fact, hasten climate change.
The report showed that the UK, Spain and Poland actively lobbied to overturn the measures that would limit power plants in their ability to burn biomass fuel and for it to count towards renewable energy targets.
The pushback caused immense frustration amongst EU policymakers in Brussels and occurred even though the UK is planning to leave the Union at the point when the new rules will come into effect. The UK government is still seeking to influence EU legislation, despite the prospect of Brexit.
The original Renewable Energy Directive came under immense criticism for moving farmland away from food production in developing countries and accelerating deforestation, all to grow and source burnable crops.
Biomass is usually derived from wood sources. It is controversial, despite being considered a 'greener' alternative to traditional fossil fuels. Scientists fear that the burning of wood to produce electricity may ultimately pump more damaging greenhouse gases into the environment than gas and coal.
The EU parliament has proposed ambitious new green energy targets that will see 35pc in place across member states by 2020. This will replace the original 20pc by 2020 goal. Negotiations will be ongoing until the deal can be finalised.
The UK government said it would not comment on documents that had been leaked as a matter of policy. A spokesman said though that the UK had some of the world's strictest criteria for biomass sustainability.