I have today published the draft statutory instrument the Motor Fuel (Composition and Content) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2022 and accompanying explanatory memorandum.
These regulations amend the Motor Fuel (Composition and Content) Regulations 1999 to require the introduction of E10 petrol (petrol with up to 10% ethanol) at filling stations in Northern Ireland. Following the successful introduction of E10 in Great Britain in September 2021, this subsequent amendment will bring the ethanol content of standard grade petrol in Northern Ireland in line with rest of the UK. The regulations also ensure the ongoing availability of E5 petrol (petrol with 5% or less ethanol) for those with vehicles and equipment unsuitable for use with E10.
At present, standard grade petrol in Northern Ireland contains up to 5% renewable ethanol (referred to as E5). Increasing the renewable ethanol content to up to 10% (E10) can reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from a petrol vehicle by the equivalent of around 2% per mile travelled. This, combined with increases to overall renewable fuel targets could cut overall transport CO2 emissions by a further 750,000 tonnes a year, the equivalent of taking around 350,000 cars off the road. Transport is one of the biggest contributing sectors to carbon emissions in Northern Ireland, where 59% of new cars registered in 2019 were petrol powered—the reductions achieved through the introduction of E10 will help decarbonise the existing vehicle fleet and help meet climate change targets.
Introducing E10 will also help support UK farmers and domestic ethanol industry, reducing reliance on imported oil in accordance with the aims of the UK energy security strategy and the 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. Producing ethanol also creates the valuable by-products of high-protein animal feed and stored CO2. These reduce reliance on imported products, in line with the Government’s bioeconomy strategy.
The regulations are published in accordance with the procedure required by schedule 8 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and agreed with Parliament. The draft regulations will be available for review for 28 days before they are laid, and debates scheduled.
These regulations were subject to open consultation. The policy detail, Government response and impact assessment are available.