Memorandum submitted by the Scottish Renewables
1. Please find enclosed our views relating
to the Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry on "Reducing
Carbon Emissions from Transport".
2. Scottish Renewables is Scotland's leading
renewables trade body, representing over 170 organisations, businesses
and individuals involved in the development of renewable energy
projects in Scotland. Our membership ranges from community groups
and sole traders, up to major Scottish utilities and international
plcs. Between them they are active in the development of biomass,
hydro, solar, wave, wind and tidal energy projects. Further information
about our work and our membership can be found on our website.
3. We recognise that the Scottish Executive
has responsibility for the promotion of renewable energy and sustainable
transport, including biofuels. This response recognises that different
levels of government have separate responsibilities and that,
in responding to the inquiry, we have preferred to make a more
substantive submission indicating how co-ordinated actions across
the UK are important in ensuring that renewable energy and transport
policy is effective.
4. Due to the focus of our organisation
on renewable energy, this response focusses on the Department
of Transport's low carbon vehicle strategy.
5. We recognise the benefits of using biodiesel
to power vehicles, not least that they reduce carbon emissions
from vehicles by as much as 70%, thereby helping meet UK emissions
targets. As well as being clean burning with very low particulates,
sulphur and hydrocarbon emissions, biodiesel improves the fuel
economy of vehicles and provides good lubricity. The great strength
of biodiesel as an early player in the sustainable transport industry
is the fact that it can be seamlessly integrated into existing
infrastructure. Unmodified diesel engines can run on any mix from
10% to 100%, with present tanks and pumping systems requiring
6. As the depletion and rising costs of
fossil fuels continue, the issue of security of supply becomes
increasingly important. It is therefore necessary for the UK to
increase its production and use of indigenous biofuels for transport
as a matter of urgency.
7. Biofuels can help improve the rural economy
by stimulating the markets for certain crops and by the creation
of new jobs in the processing of the fuels. The production and
transportation of biofuels could potentially provide employment
opportunities for UK farmers and other rural businesses. Research
has suggested that about 2-5 farming jobs could be created (or
sustained where crops substitute for other cultivation) for each
1,000 tonnes of biofuel produced. A 100,000 tonne processing plant
could therefore create/sustain around 60-80 jobs directly and
as many as 550 jobs in agriculture.
8. Scottish Renewables, therefore, strongly
supports the UK Government's aim to increase the use of biofuels
in transport, with a move towards hydrogen fuel cells in the long-term.
We support the targets set by the European Union, namely that
2% of transport fuels should be sourced from biofuels by 2005
and 5.75% by 2010.
9. We also welcome the targets set out in
the Powering Future Vehicles strategy. However, we note that the
UK is currently falling significantly short of its target. Further
work therefore needs to be done by UK Government to incentivise
the production and uptake of biofuels for transport. The Scottish
Agricultural College report on Biodiesel Production from Oilseed
provides good analysis of the biodiesel potential, and recommendations
10. Scottish Renewables welcomes the announcement
of the UK Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation. This initiative
should create instant demand for transport biofuels. We would,
however, stress the importance of meeting this demand through
the use of indigenous fuels (such as oil seed rape, tallow and
used cooking oil), rather than imports, to reduce the associated
carbon emissions involved in transporting the fuel. In particular,
we would stress that great caution be taken when considering the
use of imported resources, such as palm oil, which could have
been grown in deforested regions of other countries.
11. We would also recommend that the UK
Government encourages the interest and uptake of biofuels amongst
the general public by embarking on awareness-raising activities.
12. I hope that the above information is
of assistance to you in your inquiry. If you would like further
information, we would welcome the chance to assist you further.
80 Research carried out on behalf of the East of England
Development Agency (EEDA). Further information available via www.eastofenglandobservatory.org.uk/ Back
Booth E, Booth J, Cook P, Ferguson B, and Walker K (2005), Economic
Evaluation of Biodiesel Production from Oilseed Rape grown in
North and East Scotland, Scottish Agricultural College. www.sac.ac.uk/mainrep/pdfs/biodieselreport.pdf Back