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Animal Products: Biofuels

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of volumes of tallow disposals following the planned introduction of banding in the renewables obligation in 2009; (159036)

(2) what information his Department holds on the volume of tallow disposed of in landfill over the last three years;

(3) what estimate he has made of the likely costs to industry of converting tallow into biodiesel; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what studies his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the environmental and sustainability impact of converting tallow into biodiesel.

[holding answer 18 October 2007]: No estimates have been made by DEFRA of any changes to tallow disposals following the planned introduction of banding in the renewables obligation in 2009.

Data on the total volume of tallow disposed of in landfill are not held by DEFRA or the Environment Agency. However, the various regulatory restrictions, and the high value of tallow for further uses, for example in the oleochemicals industry, means that its disposal to landfill is likely to be rare.

No estimates have been made by DEFRA of the likely costs to industry of converting tallow into biodiesel.

DEFRA has not commissioned any evaluation of the sustainability impact of converting tallow into biodiesel.

The Government announced on 21 June 2007 that they aim to reward biofuels under the renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO) in accordance with the carbon savings they offer from 2010, provided that this is compatible with World Trade Organisation rules and EU technical standards requirements. This must also be consistent with the policy framework being developed by the European Commission as part of the review of the biofuels directive, and subject to consultation on the potential environmental and economic impacts of such a scheme.

The Government also announced that from 2011, they aim to reward biofuels under the RTFO only if the feedstocks from which they are produced meet appropriate sustainability standards, again subject to the provisos set out above. The RTFO draft Order provides for an ‘Administrator' of the scheme, which will be a new non-departmental public body. It will have the power to require information from suppliers about the biofuel supplied and feedstocks used. The Government will ask the Administrator to report regularly on the impact on other sectors, and will consider carefully, in the light of these reports, whether any corrective action is necessary.