British biofuels hit the environmental mark

Nearly all (97%) of biofuels sourced from British feedstocks met the government’s RTFO (Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation) environmental standards, according to the first report by the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) – the body set up to administer the RTFO. That compared with just 20% for all biofuels used by UK fuel companies.

Speaking on behalf of the biofuel industry, the Renewable Energy Association’s Clare Wenner said the findings clearly showed the UK biofuels industry was delivering on its promises to provide biofuels that both made greenhouse gas savings and were produced in a sustainable way.

“It is notable that whatever the origin of the feedstock, it is the companies that have invested in complete supply chain communication and collaboration – involving everybody from farmers to the obligated suppliers – in the UK and elsewhere, that have done well according to this report.”

NFU vice president Paul Temple said that although British biofuels only made up a small percentage of biofuels used, the fact they were one of the few that met qualifying environmental standards showed they had significant potential to contribute to reducing transport emissions.

“We hope that suppliers will recognise the benefits of buying British feedstocks and this new renewable fuel source continues to grow giving our farmers and growers additional markets to trade in.”

The report also showed that an overall carbon reduction of 44% was achieved against a government target of 40%.

At the same time as the RFA findings were published, an FAO report called for a review of biofuel policies and subsidies so that they better weighed up the opportunities and risks of biofuels.

It said biofuel policies should be “urgently reviewed in order to preserve the goal of world food security, protect poor farmers, promote broad-based rural development and ensure environmental sustainability”.

Further information can be found in the FAO publication: The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2008.

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