Sustainability of biomass production
The production of agricultural biomass in the EU has to meet a whole series of environmental standards.
In the EU, production of agricultural biomass, whether used for food, feed, material or energy, has to meet a series of statutory environmental rules regarding the quality of water, soils and air.
In addition, farmers receiving direct payments have to comply with the agricultural and environmental requirements and standards set out under the cross-compliance system.
Moreover, all biofuels and bioliquids consumed in the EU shall comply with the sustainability criteria set out in the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC in order to be eligible for the targets or any other public support.
All biomass from forests should comply with the principles of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) that are aimed at safeguarding not only economic but also ecological and social functions of forests and apply to all forest management activities. All EU Member States are committed to follow principles of SFM in their forest management activities. When extracting more wood for energy, the site suitability has to be taken into account, considering impacts on biodiversity, site fertility, erosions, soil and watershed protection.
In addition, for solid biomass used for energy, the Commission has issued a Report on sustainability requirements for the use of solid and gaseous biomass sources in electricity, heating and cooling with recommendations to those Member States that wish to introduce a national scheme in order to avoid obstacles for the functioning of the internal market for biomass.