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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 November 2005, 15:12 GMT
Green fuel obligation announced
Petrol pump
Mr Darling said it was "essential" climate change was tackled.
Five per cent of petrol sold in the UK will have to come from renewable sources by 2010, under plans announced Transport Secretary Alistair Darling.

Mr Darling said the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation would reduce CO2 gas emissions by one million tonnes a year.

"This will help reduce the impact of transport on climate change, and bring environmental benefits for us all."

Friends of the Earth welcomed the move but said growth in travel would offset any environmental gains by 2015.

I am determined that transport should play its part in addressing the threat of climate change
Alistair Darling
Transport secretary

Mr Darling announced the government's proposal at an Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference in Birmingham.

He said a one million tonne reduction in carbon dioxide emissions was equivalent to taking one million cars off the road.

"Making vehicles more efficient and investing in public transport are important aspects of our strategy, but renewable fuels are equally important," he said.

"This obligation is vital in continuing to promote a shift towards cleaner, low carbon road transport."

Fuel companies

Carbon dioxide is a "greenhouse" gas, linked to global warning. Biofuels give off less greenhouse gases than conventional fossil fuels.

Many come from crops such as oilseed rape and wheat, which can be mixed with petrol or diesel for use in ordinary cars.

For these sorts of fuels to take off, they have got to be no more expensive to the consumer than conventional petrol
UK Petroleum Industry Association

The UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) said biofuels had a role to play in reducing C02 emissions.

But a spokesman said emissions in the transport sector had stabilised and were predicted to fall as fuel became cleaner and vehicles more efficient.

"The approach which is being adopted is quite bureaucratic because it's going to require quite a lot of paperwork in terms of accreditation of biofuels," he said.

"For these sorts of fuels to take off, they have got to be no more expensive to the consumer than conventional petrol."

British Petroleum said it supported moves to reduce carbon emissions and had been working closely with the government to ensure the obligation was practical.

We would want the final proposal to be something that's clearly going to make a difference to the environment but also wouldn't be an unnecessary burden on UK motorists
BP spokesman

"We would want the final proposal to be something that's clearly going to make a difference to the environment but also wouldn't be an unnecessary burden on UK motorists," a spokesman said.

"We are looking forward to working with the government on the details and final implementation of the obligation."

A spokeswoman for Shell said: "Shell does not currently use any biofuels in either its diesel or gasoline fuels in the UK due to the higher costs associated with their use.

"If this is to become law in the UK then Shell always aims to comply with the law."

Assurance scheme

Total UK said it would work with the government to find the "most appropriate approach" to meet their objectives.

Obligated companies would be required to report on the level of carbon savings achieved and on the sustainability of their supplies
Department for Transport

"Use of biofuels must be tied to a strong assurance scheme to ensure their production doesn't damage the countryside, encourage the destruction of tropical rainforests or promote intensive farming of GM crops," Friends of the Earth said.

But the Department for Transport said the government would develop a carbon and sustainability assurance scheme as part of the obligation.

"Obligated companies would be required to report on the level of carbon savings achieved and on the sustainability of their supplies," it said.

Mr Darling also said the government would further investigate the potential for the use of hydrogen fuel in the UK.

"In the longer term, we need to look seriously at the fuels we are using to power our transport - which is why we are piloting the development of hydrogen fuelled transport."




SEE ALSO:
Blair makes climate summit call
01 Nov 05 |  UK Politics
Cows make fuel for biogas train
24 Oct 05 |  Science/Nature


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