Today asked the following question of Cllr Neil Swannick, the Executive Member for Environment at the Council Meeting in the Town Hall:
How will Manchester Council inform residents that whilst Biofuel from waste (vegetable and animal) oils can be sustainable, Biofuels crops (either in this country or the global south) are not sustainable and can produce up to 10 times the emissions of the fuel that they seek to replace?
Neil's first response went into some detail about the current developments in Biofuels and the new legislation due to come out in April. He disputed the figure of "up to 10 times the emissions" and mentioned the Council's use of Biofuels in it's vehicle fleet. He seemed to be saying that the jury was still out on the issue of Biofuels.
For more information on Biofuels see: http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/
This is a really good introduction to the subject:
There are more reports at: http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/background.php#general
including "Biofuels : an unfolding disaster", which contains the following quote:However, fuel suppliers are only required to report
50% of their biofuels in 2008-2009. So Palm Oil,
creating up to 9 times the greenhouse gas emissions
than diesel, may be hidden in the unreported 50%.
In my supplementary question I explained that whilst I currently believe that Ebony Solutions who supply the Council's Biofuel are (reasonably) sustainable and that this was obviously a complicated issue, there are what can be simply described as "bad" Biofuel and "good" Biofuel and I asked if this could be explained within the Council's Environmental Campaigns information.
Before I had finished asking the question, other Labour front benchers were shouting "yes", so they seem keen to get the message out there (actually I think they were just keen to get out of the meeting). Cllr Swannick also stood up and said yes, so I look forward to Council campaign information including Biofuels.
I wonder if I might need to remind them...
Come back next week to see a write-up of the other 2 questions I asked and my uncontested budget speech!