New biofuel targets aim to cut transport sector emissions


New biofuel targets coming into force on Sunday (15 April) aim to double the use of renewable fuels in the UK transport sector within 15 years.

The Government said the ‘tough’ new rules would cut the sector’s reliance on imported diesel.


Changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) will compel suppliers of 450,000 litres or more of transport fuel a year to make sure the mix is at least 12.4% biofuel by 2032.

Currently the industry, which supplies fuel to transport companies such as haulage firms and airlines, is expected to meet a target of 4.75% biofuel.

The Government said it is also ‘challenging the sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% by 2020’.

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: ‘The changes we are introducing will double our carbon emissions savings from the RTFO scheme by doubling the use of renewable fuels and reducing reliance on imported fossil diesel.

‘This will deliver emissions savings equal to taking hundreds of thousands of cars off the road.’

Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said it was ‘excited by the new regulations which will encourage the production of novel fuels for hard-to-decarbonise sectors’. She added: ‘As transport is now the UK’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and air quality concerns are growing, this makes the transition to a cleaner system an imperative.’

Officials said the changes to the RTFO scheme will also, for the first time, reward and support the production of sustainable renewable aviation fuels in the UK.

The key changes to the scheme are:

  • increasing the biofuels volume target from the current 4.75% to 9.75% in 2020, and 12.4% in 2032
  • setting an additional target for advanced waste-based renewable fuels, starting at 0.1% in 2019 and rising to 2.8% in 2032
  • setting a sustainable level for crop biofuels, an initial maximum cap of 4% of fuel in 2018, reducing 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.

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