Clamping maize for AD plant©Tim Scrivener

The area of arable crops grown specifically for bioenergy in the UK has increased more than threefold over the period 2008-12, according to government statistics.

This rapid growth is illustrated by the substantial area of maize grown for anaerobic digestion, which in 2014 accounted for nearly one-fifth of the total maize area in England.

Defra stats published earlier this week show the total area grown for for bioenergy in England and the UK was 122,000ha, equating to 2% of the total of all arable land in the UK in 2014.

The number one crop is maize, which accounted for 19% of the total maize area in England in 2015 and 0.7% of England's total arable area.

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In second place was wheat for bioethanol accounting for 53,000ha in the UK, then oilseed rape for biodiesel (13,00ha) followed by barley (9,000ha), then sugar beet (8,000ha) and short-rotation coppice miscanthus (7,000ha).

See the full report on the Defra website.