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Government publishes responses to RTFO and GHG Regulations consultations

Thu 14 September 2017 | Back to news list

The Government has published proposals that aim to increase the amount of renewable fuel in the transport energy mix and make several other changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). The proposals mean that the obligation level will increase to 9.75% in 2020 and to 12.4% in 2032. There will be a ceiling for the use of crop-based fuels set at 4% in 2018 and reducing each year to reach 2% in 2032.
The Government will consult on the guidance for the revised scheme shortly and, subject to the Parliamentary schedule and vote outcome, will introduce legislation in time for the start of the next obligation year in April 2018.
The main proposals for the RTFO are:
  • increasing the obligation level to 9.75% in 2020, rising to 12.4% in 2032
  • an additional target for development fuels at 0.1% in 2019, rising to 2.8% in 2032
  • a crop cap at 4% in 2018, reducing in equal increments annually from 2021 to reach 3% in 2026 and 2% in 2032
  • bringing renewable aviation fuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin into the scheme
Changes to the GHG Regulations include
  • setting a GHG reduction target of 6% for 2020 plus an interim target of 4% in 2019
  • GHG credits for upstream emission reductions associated with crude oil extraction making GHG credits available to electricity suppliers for the provision of electric vehicle usage data
  • bringing renewable aviation fuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin into the scheme
  • reporting requirements on origin and place of purchase for crude oil
The legislative process requires debates followed by a positive vote in both Houses. Usually, this is done in Committee rather than on the floor of the House. Unlike primary legislation, secondary legislation cannot be amended as part of the parliamentary process. Following each debate, members will vote on the legislation and may reject or approve it.
The Renewable Energy Association said that while the increase in the RTFO is welcomed by industry, capping the use of crop-based fuels threatens domestic jobs and manufacturing capabilities. The REA also criticized the proposal for excluding biogas-based fuels from qualifying under the development fuels sub-target. 
Following the Government announcement, the LowCVP published the findings of an expert group - convened under the auspices of the Partnership - which said that a coordinated introduction of E10 petrol can benefit the UK economy and help meet transport carbon targets.
Meanwhile, in a new study the Brussels-based NGO, T&E says that advanced biofuels are likely to play only a modest role in the decarbonisation of road transport as their sustainable and economic viability will limit their impact, particularly compared to the reductions possible with combined fuel efficiency, logistics, modal shift, and electrification.

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