Energy Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 29th March 2004.

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Photo of Lord Ezra Lord Ezra Shadow Minister, Trade & Industry 6:30 pm, 29th March 2004

My Lords, this amendment, which deals with biofuels, was moved in Grand Committee. It is an important element in energy policy and it would be an important addition to the Bill. It proposes a renewable transport fuel obligation. From what we have just discussed I imagine that the Government do not particularly like the term "obligation", but it is appropriate in this case.

I have taken full account of what was said in Grand Committee. The revised amendment refers specifically to the EU directive 2003/30/EC, which has been available for some time—I believe that it was published last July—and on which consultations are meant to be taking place.

The proposal before us is to introduce legislation that would support the application of that directive. There is no doubt, both in the Government's mind and elsewhere, that there can be a big contribution to their objectives on reducing emissions by introducing progressively a proportion of renewable fuels into the energy consumed by transport. Through the development of biofuels that objective could not only be served but it would give an additional outlet for the agricultural industry, which is going through so much difficulty at the present time.

Many countries are already introducing an element of biofuel into their petrol. The biggest example is Brazil, where up to 20 per cent biofuels have been introduced into petroleum usage, but the Brazilians have substantial amounts of sugar at their disposal which creates biofuels. We are talking in much smaller terms of increasing annually by 1 per cent until 2010. That could be an enormous benefit both in the achievement of the environmental objectives and for the agricultural industry. We believe that the amendment is in line with the EU directive and we hope that the Government will be able to support it. I beg to move.