Fleet News

Criticism over biofuel delays

THE EUROPEAN Commission has accused nine European Union governments of dragging their feet over promoting biofuels in their countries.

It has sent critical formal notices to Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Slovenia accusing them of failing to submit national reports framing 2005 targets for biofuel consumption, as required under the Biofuels Directive. It has also requested action from Cyprus and Estonia, whose national reports do not include such targets and has criticised France and Portugal for including targets in their reports that 'are not definitive'.

The legislation requires that an increasing proportion of all diesel and petrol sold in EU member countries be biofuels, starting with 2% in 2005, progressively increasing to a minimum of 5.75% in 2010. Britain has not yet been singled out for criticism, but Brussels is looking into whether it can justify its low 0.3% target for this year.

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: 'The transport market is today almost entirely dependent upon oil-based fuels. It is now urgent that all member states live up to their commitments to develop an alternative fuel strategy for transport.' However, compliance with the legislation has been very patchy, regardless of the failure to adopt consumption targets.

Last month, the commission said Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden had all failed to write its clauses properly into their national legislation.

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