RTFO clears first parliamentary hurdle with Commons green light

27 Feb 2018 | Tim Worledge

Proposed changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation have cleared their first hurdle in parliamentary committee with the Draft Renewable Transport Fuels and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations 2018 passed unanimously during a delegated legislation committee, Monday.

However, Jesse Norman MP, the parliamentary undersecretary of state for roads, local transport and devolution, confirmed that introducing a mandatory E10 ethanol blend level was not being considered.

During remarks to the committee, Norman referenced the findings of the Transport Energy Task Force to state that it “did not recommend a mandate” and that E10 would not play a part of this change as “it is important that we not fetter suppliers even further.”

He acknowledged that E10 remained a “live and important issue” and officials at the Department for Transport would continue to work closely with the industry.

The revamped RTFO is set to boost the UK’s biofuel mandate from the current 4.75% total, to a rolling mandate starting at 7.25% in April 2018 but rising through to 12.4% by 2032.

As part of the proposed changes, the bolstered RTFO will differentiate between crop-based biofuels and waste-based biofuels, with crop allowed to deliver up to a maximum of 4% of the 7.25% biofuel provision, with waste-based biofuels providing the balance.

Over the course of the RTFO’s proposed lifetime, that maximum will be reduced to 2% in 2032, with a new advanced category introduced in 2019.

That will also contribute a percentage of biofuel supply rising from 0.1% in 2019 to 2.8% by 2032, with everything else due to come from waste-based biofuels.

The Statutory Instrument now passes to the House of Lords, where it is due to be discussed on March 6 before coming onto the UK’s statute books ahead of the April 15 deadline, when it is due to be implemented.

The UK government has been accused of cutting fine the legislative timeline, with some in the industry expressing concerns over what the changes may mean for the trading of Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates.

However, press contacts at the Department for Transport have assured that the legislation remains on track to be in place by the end of March.