Fleet News

Fleets urged to speak out on biofuel plans

TRANSPORT minister Stephen Ladyman has urged fleets to make their feelings known about the government’s plans for biofuels.

The draft of the UK Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), which lays out how much biofuel will be sold in the UK in the coming years, is currently out for consultation until May 17.

It stipulates that by 2010/11, 5% of fuel sold in the UK must be biofuel. The draft proposes this will be achieved by compelling fuel producers to include blends of regular fuel with 5% biofuels.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), Dr Ladyman said the RTFO did not include huge incentives for fleets to adopt biofuel-powered vehicles or use higher percentage blends.

‘If we were sticking to voluntary agreements for the take-up of biofuels we would have to do a lot more to incentivise,’ he said.

‘We have taken the view that we won’t be able to move this industry as far and as fast as we would like based on the voluntary agreement, which is why we’ve made the mandatory agreement.

‘If the obligation that we put in place can deliver a volume of renewable fuel by 2010, there’s no point in putting in any measures that will take us beyond 5% because of sustainability issues.’

Dr Ladyman said that if it becomes clear that more than 5% biofuel can be sold sustainably, then further measures could be considered.

‘Whether they are incentives for fleets is something we’ll have to look at,’ he said.

‘Incentivisation is something I’d like to hear about. We need to get ideas in the public domain and have them considered. I believe we are on track but we do need fleets to tell us abut their ideas and concerns throughout this consultation.’

In the audience for Dr Ladyman’s address was Mike Waters, head of market insight and planning for Arval.

He said: ‘I was heartened by some of his statements, I thought they were quite balanced.

‘His message was basically ‘don’t run before you can walk’. Clearly for biofuels there are two elements – fuel quality and the sustainability of supply. Biofuel isn’t a silver bullet, it’s going to be part of a more diverse road transport fuel mix. To go beyond a 5% blend could be a step too far too soon.’

The full draft of the RTFO can be found by clicking here.

To provide feedback, email rtfo.consultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk

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