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Biofuels

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the written ministerial statement of 13 November 2008, Official Report, column 67WS, on the Draft Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations (Amendment) Order 2009, (1) what assessment he has made of the effect on UK biofuel producers of correcting the discrepancy in the 2007 Order (a) for the current obligation period and (b) for the 2009-10 obligation period; (242582)

(2) whether Ministers or officials from the Department met representatives of biofuel producers to discuss the Government’s response to the discrepancy in the 2007 Order;

(3) whether Ministers or officials from the Department met representatives of obligated suppliers to discuss the Government’s response to the discrepancy in the 2007 Order;

(4) what communications he has had with the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments on correcting the discrepancy in the 2007 Order.

The Government are currently consulting on proposals for amending the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007 (2007 No. 3072) to rectify the discrepancy issue by extending the definition of “relevant hydrocarbon oil”. The Department wrote to stakeholders on 13 November 2008 to inform them of proposals to rectify the discrepancy for the next obligation year (2009-10). Due to the constraints of the primary legal powers the Department is not proposing to deal retrospectively with this issue for the current obligation year (2008-09).

As a result of the discrepancy the Renewable Fuels Agency estimates that around half of the fossil fuel supplied may not be taken into account in calculating suppliers’ renewable transport obligations. The extent of any shortfall in biofuel supplied will not be known until the end of the obligation year.

Following the identification of the discrepancy the Government informed both obligated and biofuel suppliers about this issue. Officials within the Department for Transport are continuing to engage with these suppliers about the effects of the discrepancy and the proposed solution. The draft amendment order will be subject to the affirmative procedure and the proposal to deal with the discrepancy will be considered by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments in due course.