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MEP calls for biofuel rethink

PUBLISHED: 15:15 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:38 23 August 2010

A TOP MEP is urging the government to review its position on the use of biofuel, as a policy committing fuel producers to its use comes into force. Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, which came into force on Tuesday, Britain has agreed to en

A TOP MEP is urging the government to review its position on the use of biofuel, as a policy committing fuel producers to its use comes into force.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, which came into force on Tuesday, Britain has agreed to ensure that all petrol and diesel contains at least 2.5 per cent bio fuel.

This figure was designed to ensure that Britain complies with an EU directive that 5.75 per cent of petrol and diesel comes from renewable sources by 2010, with plans to raise the figure to 10 per cent by 2020.

There are serious concerns from scientists, including Professor Bob Watson, chief adviser at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, that by increasing deforestation in countries where it is grown the use of biofuels could speed up rather than slow down climate change.

Caroline Lucas (pictured), Green MEP for the South East, said: "I hope that the European Commission is listening to the growing chorus of disapproval on biofuels, especially after damning evidence provided by its own Joint Research Centre revealed that biofuel production is not only causing significant harm to local ecosystems and displacing food crops in many areas of the world, but also in some cases failing even to deliver net greenhouse gas savings.

"It is time for the EU to scrap its proposed target of ensuring 10 per cent of fuel comes from biofuels by 2020."

The Prime Minister was due to release a report touching on the issue when he met José Manuel Barroso, the European Commision president, last month but decided the time was not right to do so.

Dr Lucas said: "Professor Watson's words add even more weight to the broad consensus that biofuels are not the answer to our energy crisis. I urge the EU and the UK to bring an end to compulsory targets for biofuel, and to move the focus onto other, more effective measures to reduce transport-related emissions."

jason.goodyer@archant.co.uk

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