HC Deb 28 October 2002 vol 391 c603W
Paddy Tipping

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the value of biofuels for road transport in contributing to achieving his environmental and rural development goals; [75025]

(2)what representations he has received about further reductions in the rates of duty on biodiesel and biomethanol; and if he will make a statement; [75026]

(3)what discussions he has had with the EU over reduced rates of duty for road gas fuels and hydrogen as a road fuel; and what plans he has for similar discussions to reduce the rates for biomethanol. [75027]

John Healey

[holding answers 21 October 2002]Ministers and officials have had a number of discussions with the European Commission and other member states about road fuel duties.

The former Department for Environment, Transport and Local Government published an environmental appraisal of the green fuels originally submitted in response to the Chancellor's Green Fuel Challenge in March 2001. This set out the Government's views on different alternative fuels. In addition, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has commissioned an assessment from Sheffield Hallam University on biodiesel. This is an independent evaluation of comparative energy, environmental and social costs and benefits of biodiesel. The results of this study are expected to be published later this year.

We have received a number of representations about fuel duty rates. Decisions on duty rates are taken by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at Budget time.