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Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

I have today published the Government’s recommendation to the Office of the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) on how the carbon and sustainability reporting mechanism should operate under the RTFO scheme, which will be introduced in April 2008 pursuant to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007. This follows a public consultation published on 21 June 2007: “Carbon and Sustainability Reporting Within the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, Requirements and Guidance, Draft Government Recommendation to RTFO Administrator”. I have also published today a summary of responses to the consultation. Copies of these documents have been placed in the Library of both Houses.

The Government are committed to ensuring that the biofuels that are supplied under the RTFO are sustainable and deliver genuine greenhouse gas savings. This reporting mechanism will provide a strong incentive to road transport fuel suppliers to source sustainable biofuels, and is an essential first step towards the development and introduction of mandatory carbon and sustainability standards.

I can confirm that, in the light of the comments received during the consultation exercise, the Government are setting the following targets for key aspects of the biofuel reporting scheme to illustrate the level of performance expected from all road transport fuel suppliers:

Annual target

2008-9

2009-10

2010-11

Percentage of feedstock meeting a qualifying environmental standard

30%

50%

80%

Annual average greenhouse gas saving of biofuel supplied

40%

45%

50%

Data reporting on sustainability characteristics

50%

70%

90%

The Government announced on 21 June 2007 their aim of rewarding biofuels according to their carbon savings from 2010-11 onwards, subject to a number of very important provisos. I can confirm today that the Government will aim to design such a scheme so that it delivers a level of carbon savings consistent with the greenhouse gas saving target for 2010-11. We will consult in due course on this matter.

The Government will keep all of these targets under review in the light of suppliers’ performance in meeting them and other developments.

The Government’s recommendation to the RFA includes a number of detailed changes that have been made in the light of the responses to the consultation. The key changes are set out in the summary of responses document.

Further developments in this area will be affected by the forthcoming EU Directives on Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality. The UK will continue to work closely with the European Commission and other member states to ensure that a robust sustainability framework for biofuels underpins both EU and UK biofuel targets.

It is expected that the RFA will consider the Government’s recommendation and publish the final reporting requirements shortly.

Further information is available from the Departmental website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/roads/RTFO