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Biofuels: Imports

Volume 473: debated on Friday 14 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what percentage of biodiesel used in the UK was imported from the US in 2006-07; (184169)

(2) what steps are taken to determine whether biodiesel imported from the US has been produced sustainably; and what certification requirements apply to such imports.

The Government do not presently hold precise data on the provenance of the biofuels used in the UK. We will have more accurate data once the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) comes into effect in April. Under the RTFO, transport fuel suppliers who wish to earn Renewable Transport Fuel certificates in respect of their biofuels will have to report to the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) on matters such as the country of origin and wider sustainability of those fuels. Further detail on the reporting requirements is available via the RFA’s website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa

We are aware that during 2006 and 2007 a significant proportion of the biodiesel sold in the UK was imported from the US. There are currently no sustainability or certification requirements on these or other imports of biofuel into the European Union, and the UK Government do not have the power unilaterally to impose any such restrictions. We have expressed our concerns on this issue to the European Commission at the highest level and are supporting their efforts to press for legislative changes in the US. Once the RTFO is in force, transport fuel suppliers importing biodiesel from the US will be subject to the same sustainability reporting requirements as outlined above.