HC Deb 10 April 1987 vol 114 cc452-3W
Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on proposals to reduce the cetane value in petroleum products and on the effect of this on the environment.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

Following discussions with Government Departments and the industries concerned proposals have been made by the British Standards Institution to amend the standard for diesel fuel for road vehicles BS 2869. The proposals follow changes in the quality of crude oil available, the mix of oil products in demand and the technical possibilities for controlling various characteristics of diesel fuel. The minimum cetane number would be reduced from 50 CN to 48 CN, a figure nearer the European average. It is expected that this would result in marginal increases in smoke and noise emission from some engines. On the other hand new density limits, a stability requirement and tighter viscosity and distillation characteristics would be introduced to act as a safeguard against diesel fuel quality declining in other respects. On balance we believe this package of changes will best secure the needs of industry and the protection of the environment.