New Clause 3 - Fuel duty differential for biodiesel

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 8:30 pm ar 26 Mehefin 2012.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Stephen Williams Stephen Williams Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Bristol West 8:30, 26 Mehefin 2012

How could I not forgive my hon. Friend? I seem to remember that he gave us all a stick of rock at one point last year, so perhaps one will be forthcoming for that intervention.

In discussing the amendment that I tabled to clause 180, I said that it was all about joined-up government, and this new clause is another opportunity to encourage that—this time between the Treasury and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The latter estimates that waste cooking oil—whether used for chips or something else—causes 150,000 blockages a year, because most of it is poured down the drain, and costs the water companies £15 million a year. Eventually, all of the waste is likely to end up in landfill, which produces 40% of the UK’s methane and 3% of its greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead, we could put that waste cooking oil to better use. Last year, when all those millions of litres of cooking oil were diverted to better use, it enabled the UK to exceed our road transport emission targets by 8%, saving 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. In a few short years, the UK became the leading country in the world for using waste cooking oil for road fuel.

The UK Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance has made a proposal to me on the way forward that I would like to put to the Minister. It has suggested that for a cost of just £5 million—which, to put it in context is 1% of the £500 million that the Chancellor spent in Treasury questions this afternoon by deferring the fuel duty rise for six months—heavy goods vehicles and taxi fleets could use high-blend biodiesel, with a 20% mix of waste cooking oil, and that would keep this nascent industry alive for another few years. If the Government do not listen to the representations that I know have been made, the danger is that the industry will simply collapse; more than 1,000 people will lose their jobs; our emissions targets in this area will not be met; and, perhaps just as important, an awful lot of chip fat will be poured down the drain.