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Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will support a mandatory 10 per cent. minimum target for use of biofuels by 2020 at the EU Spring Summit. (127183)

At the EU spring summit on 8 and 9 March member states, including the UK, agreed to set a minimum target for biofuels of 10 per cent. share of total petrol and diesel consumption to be introduced in a cost-efficient way in Europe by 2020 subject to a number of conditions. In particular, the target should be binding only if production of the biofuels is sustainable, second-generation biofuels become commercially available and the Fuel Quality Directive is amended to allow for adequate levels of blending.

These conditions are broadly consistent with the conditions the Government have proposed in relation to the future development of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) that is due to start in April 2008. A consultation on the long-term future of the RTFO is currently under way. The RTFO will require transport fuel suppliers to ensure that 5 per cent. of their total transport fuel sale comes from biofuels by 2010-11. The Government have made clear that they are committed to increasing the level of the RTFO beyond 5 per cent. provided that similar conditions around sustainability, technical feasibility and costs to consumers are met and that it represents an effective use of our biomass resources.