Environmentalist Duncan Stewart has said Ireland is not on track to meet its targets for the use of biofuel.

The country has been given a target by the European Union to get 16% of its energy from renewables by the year 2020.

However, Mr Stewart told a conference in Dublin, attended by Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, that Ireland is lagging behind while the rest of Europe moves ahead.

Mr Stewart said people in the bioenergy business are frustrated with the pace of Government initiatives and subsidies.

The conference heard that six liquid biofuel plants have closed in the past year because major petrol companies imported cheaper oil rather than purchase from Irish producers.

Mr Rabbitte is due to announce a scheme next week to help the production of electricity from biomass.

He will also publish a framework document on energy litter this year.