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Biofuels

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) volume and (b) proportion of biofuels used in England was (i) imported and (ii) produced domestically in each of the last five years; what the equivalent estimated figures are for each year up to 2010; and what impact this had upon reducing carbon emissions from vehicles. (154745)

The total quantities of biofuels released for consumption in the UK are available via the HM Revenue and Customs website at http://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bulloil. Annual figures are summarised in the following table. Information on the carbon savings associated with these biofuels is not available.

Annual quantities of biofuels released for consumption in the UK and estimated carbon savings

Millions of litres

Biodiesel

Bioethanol

2002

3

0

2003

19

0

2004

21

0

2005

33

85

2006

169

95

Provisional figures suggest that the total quantity of biofuel released for consumption over the first eight months of 2007 amounted to some 318 million litres, or around 1 per cent. of total road transport fuel sales. The Government do not hold precise data on the origin of these fuels, and information on the carbon savings associated with them is not available. All of the bioethanol over the period in question was imported, whereas a significant amount of the biodiesel was produced in the UK. During 2006 and 2007, however, imports of biodiesel rose sharply.

The Government are due to introduce a Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) in April 2008. This should create a demand for around 1 billion litres of biofuel in 2008, rising to around 1.75 billion litres in 2009 and 2.5 billion litres in 2010. We anticipate that this demand will be met by both imported and domestically produced biofuels. The carbon savings will depend on a number of factors, including the carbon intensity of the biofuels transport fuel suppliers choose to source. The RTFO’s reporting requirements are designed to provide a strong incentive for transport fuel suppliers to source sustainable, low-carbon biofuels.

The Government have also announced that from 2010-11 they aim to reward biofuels under the RTFO according to the amount of carbon they save. This should provide greater certainty over the level of carbon savings that the biofuels should deliver. Further details are set out in an informal policy paper which is available via this Department’s website at

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/environment/rtfo/.