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Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation

Volume 474: debated on Monday 31 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will consider suspending the renewable transport fuel obligation until comprehensive certification and assessment schemes are put in place. (197290)

The Government have made clear that we will not support any increase in biofuel targets until we are satisfied that the biofuels can be delivered sustainably. That remains our position, and we are negotiating hard to ensure that future EU biofuel targets are underpinned by mandatory sustainability criteria which are as robust and wide-ranging as possible.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007 implements the RTFO scheme and the Government could not suspend the introduction of the RTFO without amending or repealing the order. The new amending or repealing order would require consultation in accordance with the Energy Act 2004 and would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, with debates in both Houses of Parliament.

The Government believe that suspending the introduction of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) until such time as mandatory, EU-wide sustainability criteria for biofuels are in place would be counter-productive. The reporting requirements under the RTFO will cause suppliers to develop systems for capturing environmental and sustainability information which will help prepare for the introduction of mandatory standards and inform the development of those standards. In addition, the UK is widely perceived as playing a leading role in developing a sustainability framework for biofuels through the reporting requirements under the RTFO. Abandoning this could marginalise us in EU negotiations, and give other member states greater influence over the direction of the EU’s future biofuel policies.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration she has given to the merits of a moratorium on the implementation of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation. (197763)

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations (RTFO) Order 2007 implements the RTFO scheme and the Government could not suspend the introduction of the RTFO without amending or repealing the order. The new amending or repealing order would require consultation in accordance with the Energy Act 2004 and would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, with debates in both Houses of Parliament.

The Government believe that suspending the introduction of the RTFO until such time as mandatory, EU-wide sustainability criteria for biofuels are in place would be counter-productive. The reporting requirements under the RTFO will cause suppliers to develop systems for capturing environmental and sustainability information which will help prepare for the introduction of mandatory standards and inform the development of those standards. In addition, the UK is widely perceived as playing a leading role in developing a sustainability framework for biofuels through the reporting requirements under the RTFO. Abandoning this could marginalise the UK in EU negotiations, and give other member states greater influence over the direction of the EU’s future biofuel policies.