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Transport Fuels: Renewable Sources

Volume 634: debated on Thursday 18 January 2018

10. What steps his Department is taking to meet the target of at least 10% of transport fuels being from renewable sources by 2020. (903373)

13. What steps his Department is taking to meet the target of at least 10% of transport fuels being from renewable sources by 2020. (903376)

In September, we published our response to the consultation on amendments to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007. It set out proposals to meet the 2020 target and reduce carbon emissions from transport. A draft statutory instrument to implement the proposals was laid before Parliament on 15 January. Subject to parliamentary approval, the legislation will increase targets for the supply of renewable fuels from April 2018.

Progress on the RTFO is positive. Are the Government ready to introduce E10 petrol, which is already available in France, Germany and Finland? That would also help the UK’s bioethanol industry, which is an important employer in Teesside.

I am aware that the industry is an important employer, and it has been a matter of concern to Ministers to ensure that it continues to succeed. I met representatives from Ensus in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency in November, and we have been having close conversations with them and others. E10 remains a commercial matter for the fuel suppliers. The RTFO encourages suppliers to use the most cost-effective solution. Our analysis suggests that E10 may not be required to meet the targets, but it may nevertheless be an attractive option for suppliers.

Abellio’s hybrid buses are generally a plus for the Uxbridge Road, but they are cancelled out by the ComfortDelGro group’s diesel vehicles, which pollute the lungs not only of my constituents on our major thoroughfare but of people all over the country, as they are standard vehicles. Surely the Government should be doing more to encourage best procurement practice and to rid our roads of dirty diesel.

As the hon. Lady will know, the Government are investing hugely in support for electric vehicles and in improvements to air quality across cities and other parts of the country. That is very much with a view to mitigating the effects of diesel fume particulates.

Fuel providers have stated that they require a Government mandate to introduce E10 fuel to avoid a breach of competition law. Will the Minister reconsider the possibility of mandating E10 fuel? If not, will his departmental lawyers work with fuel providers to overcome this legal hurdle?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his comment. He will be aware that we have this matter closely under review, and we are continuing to discuss it with suppliers and forecourt operators. In some other EU countries, there has been no such mandate and there has nevertheless been significant take-up.