MP calls time on DfT to green up our roads

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 23 Apr 2018

CLEETHORPES MP Martin Vickers has pressed the Government on renewable content in road fuel, with hundreds of millions of pounds of investment riding on enforcing a commitment. 

The Conservative represents a constituency featuring both South Bank oil refineries and Greenergy’s plant on Port of Immingham, as well as three of the four proposed South Bank plants that have yet to be realised. 

In Westminster’s Transport Topical Questions, Mr Vickers asked Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Transport for clarity, sensing a resistance from the department. 

On his feet in the House, he asked: “The bioethanol industry and the farming community that supplies it are looking for some certainty about the introduction of E10. Is the Minister able to give a clear steer as to when they can expect that certainty and whether the Government will be giving support?”

There are calls for E10 fuel – a more environmentally friendly blend of 10 per cent renewable bioethanol with petrol – to be introduced by the end of the year. 

In the wider Humber, producer Vivergo’s £350 million Saltend plant has just re-started production after a four month shut-down, during which it has led lobbying. Mr Vickers, together with other regional MPs, has taken bosses from there to the DfT to meet successive ministers. 

Mr Vickers said: “Not only would it be great for keeping Vivergo going, but the local farmers around Lincolnshire are very much in favour. They want to provide the fuel. What they need is a clear message that E10 is okay. 

Read more: Vivergo MD says 150 Hull biofuel plant jobs remain at risk due to 'government inaction'

There seems to be some resistance to give the go-ahead. We keep taking the chief from Vivergo to see successive ministers and they keep not making a decision, as again with the ministerial reply.”

That reply, was that the “Government has taken a very important forward position by introducing the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation”.

Mr Norman said: “We are looking closely at E10, and at international precedents and examples as to how enhanced ethanol fuels have been brought into play. It is important to respect market dynamics, so this is a slightly tricky issue, on which we are spending some time and consideration.”

Major plans for further refineries have been mooted for a decade, with this region seen as a key zone with traditional refining, rich arable land and port access.

Bioethanol Ltd had an application for a 100,000-tonne plant to the north west of Immingham; Spanish environmental giant Abengoa announced it was looking to build a massive operation at Hobson Way, Stallingborough; Vireol had eyed up some of the former Courtaulds site and Green Spirit Fuels was looking at the former Huntsman Tioxide site. All expired without any build, with the legislative process, twinned with the deep recession, blamed. 

It had been anticipated then that the market would be twice the size now.

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