Promotion and use of biofuels in the United Kingdom during 2007

Sep 2008

This report addresses the UK's obligation to report to the European Commission by 1 July 2008 on the effectiveness of the UK Government’s support for biofuels during the calendar year 2007, as required by Article 4 of Directive 2003/30/EC on the promotion of the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels for transport.
The UK Government is committed to the promotion of sustainable biofuels in the transport sector. During 2007 it put in place detailed legislation to meet this policy objective. In October 2007 the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order (RTFO)  was made, after it had been approved in draft by the UK Parliament. The order sets obligation levels for the proportion of biofuels in fossil fuel suppliers’ total sales, of 2.5 percent for 2008/09, 3.75 per cent for 2009/10 and 5 per cent in 2010/11. The order also set up the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) as the Administrator of the scheme. Fiscal incentives for biofuels continued in 2007. Biodiesel and bioethanol received a 20 pence per litre fuel duty incentive which has stimulated a growing market in the UK. Biofuel sales were approximately 1 percent overall at a level of around 500 million litres for 2007. In 2007 the UK Government consulted on the requirements for carbon and sustainability reporting under the RTFO. This included a proposed carbon saving calculation methodology for different biofuel production chains. Following the consultation the Government issued a recommendation on carbon and sustainability reporting to the RFA. In January 2008 the RFA published their reporting requirements for suppliers of biofuel under the RTFO.
In February 2008 the UK Government asked Professor Gallagher, Chairman of the RFA to carry out a review of the emerging evidence on the indirect impacts of biofuel production. This review was published in July and confirmed that biofuels can play a role in tackling climate change and that there is a future for a sustainable biofuels industry. However, it also concludes that there is a risk that the uncontrolled expansion and use of biofuels could lead to unsustainable changes in land use which might, in turn, actually increase greenhouse gas emissions. The UK Government now believes a more cautious approach to biofuel production than currently implied in the RTFO is necessary until the evidence is clearer about the wider environmental and social effects of biofuels. A more cautious rate of increase in the UK's RTFO up to 5 percent in 2013/14 could be proposed.
In section 1, the UK's targets for future biofuel sales and the measures the UK has taken during 2007 and subsequently to promote the use of biofuels to replace diesel or petrol for transport purposes;
In section 2, the measures the UK has put in place to ensure that the environmental benefits of biofuels are fully realised;
In section 3, the national resources allocated to the production of biomass for energy uses other than transport;
In section 4, the total UK sales of road transport fuels, including biofuels, for the calendar year 2007.

By: UK Department for Transport

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