London, England – Britain’s Transport Minister Andrew Adonis has set out plans to take a more cautious approach to biofuels, as part of the government’s response to concerns about the indirect environmental and social impacts of producing them.

Adonis took key findings from the Gallagher Review, commissioned in February 2008 to study the social and environmental effects of biofuels, including a proposal that the rate of increase of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) be slowed, reaching five per cent in 2013-2014, rather than in 2010-2011. He also dedicated a further £6 million to research being conducted by the Carbon Trust to accelerate the development of advanced, sustainable biofuel technologies.

“Everyone agrees that to tackle climate change, we must develop new and cleaner fuels,” Adonis said. “But we are clear that biofuels will only have a role to play in this if they are sustainably produced. This is why the government commissioned Professor Gallagher to examine the indirect impacts of biofuels, and we have accepted his recommendation to amend but not abandon our approach. We need to take a more cautious approach to biofuels and today’s consultation sets out our options, as well as dedicating a further £6 million to helping ensure that second-generation biofuels are truly sustainable.”

The Gallagher Review also suggests that two new eligible fuels, biobutanol and hydrogenated renewable diesel, be added to the list of renewable fuels eligible under the RTFO; that the European Union target of 10 per cent renewable transport fuels by 2020 be supported, but conditional on evidence showing that it is being delivered sustainably and without significant impacts on food prices; and that sustainability criteria for biofuels should address indirect effects on land use, as well as direct.

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