British MPs from across the political spectrum have written to government ministers demanding action on the introduction of ‘a more environmentally friendly petrol which also supports British industry and farming.’
Specifically, the letter calls for action on E10 – regular unleaded petrol blended with 10% bioethanol. Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling are called on ‘to show leadership on tackling transport emissions by introducing E10 fuel by the end of the year.’
All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Bioethanol Chair Nic Dakin MP (Labour) and Environment Select Committee Chair Neil Parish MP (Conservative) head up the letter. Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott, Scottish National Party Spokesman Alan Brown, and Shadow Transport Minister Karl Turner are among the other supporters of the letter.
Behind the times?
Currently, the UK only has E5 (a 5% ethanol blend). In many countries around the world, such as Belgium, France, Finland and the US, E10 is the biggest selling petrol. Doubling the level of bioethanol would be the emissions savings equivalent of removing 700,000 cars from the road, according to the APPG for bioethanol.
The introduction of E10 is a thorny issue in the UK. Late last year, Vivergo Fuels, one of Europe’s largest bioethanol plants, closed for four months, citing government delays on E10 as among the causes for poor market conditions.
Last month, the plant reopened, with Vivergo warning that government action was needed on the uncertainty over E10.
The signatories of the letter claim that the introduction of E10 stands to deliver significant social and economic benefits to the North of England, as well as environmental.
“The bioethanol industry is a major employer in the North of England, contributing over £1bn to the economy and supporting around 6,000 jobs, providing STEM skills and apprenticeships, and working with local education providers,” said Nic Dakin MP.
“Major British companies chose to invest in this industry on the back of Government pledges which have not been seen through. We need to act on this if we want to see further investment in the renewables industry going forward.”
Meanwhile, Neil Parish commented: “Several Parliamentary Committees have expressed frustration at the slow speed with which we are trying to tackle emissions from road transport whilst also reminding us of the need to keep carbon emissions reductions and air quality tightly bound together. Here we have a ready-and-waiting solution which is also of huge benefit to British farmers and it’s about time we got on with implementing it.”