Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation
The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation Order regulates biofuels used for transport and non road mobile machinery.
The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) supports the government’s policy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by encouraging the production of biofuels that don’t damage the environment.
Under the RTFO suppliers of transport and non road mobile machinery (NRMM) fuel in the UK must be able to show that a percentage of the fuel they supply comes from renewable and sustainable sources. Fuel suppliers who supply at least 450,000 litres of fuel a year are affected. This includes suppliers of biofuels as well as suppliers of fossil fuel.
The RTFO only covers biofuels used in the transport and NRMM sectors. For information on using bioliquids or biomass to generate heat or electricity see the Ofgem website.
Should you register under RTFO?
You must register under the RTFO if your company owns and supplies 450,000 litres or more of any road transport or NRMM fuel for use in the UK during the course of an obligation year (15 April to 14 April).
The 450,000 litre figure includes all fossil fuels and biofuels.
If your company supplies less than 450,000 litres a year in the UK, you can still register if you want to claim Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs). Any company that supplies sustainable biofuel for use in road transport or NRMM in the UK can claim RTFCs. You can trade RTFCs or sell them to companies that need them to meet their obligations under the RTFO.
How do I register?
To register for the RTFO you should contact the RTFO Compliance Team in the Department for Transport (DfT).
Telephone 020 7944 8555 to request the link to the RTFO online registration and reporting system.
You will need the following information to register:
- the full legal name of your organisation
- Companies House number and date of incorporation (if your organisation is a company) The legal status of your organisation (e.g. plc, limited company, partnership, sole trader etc)
- VAT number if you have one
- Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) certificate number, if your organisation has one
- full contact details for the organisation, yourself and the director
We will also require individual proofs of identity for at least one director who will be responsible for ensuring the organisation is fully compliant with the RTFO.
The Department for Transport publishes guidance on the RTFO legislation. This provides support for fuel suppliers, independent verifiers and others involved in the supply of biofuels for use in road transport in the UK.
This guidance is divided into 3 main parts:
- process guidance, which explains how the scheme works and what suppliers need to do to comply
- carbon and sustainability guidance, which explains how suppliers should meet the sustainability criteria for biofuels
- guidance for verifiers
There are also a number of supporting documents, and a short summary guidance document aimed at smaller companies which supply biofuels from used cooking oil only.
The carbon calculator is a standalone programme that allows users to assess the greenhouse gas savings from a given batch of biofuels. You can use it to generate reports to upload to the RTFO reporting system.
Data on biofuel supply
Suppliers covered by the RTFO must provide data on the volumes and source of biofuel brought to market in the UK. A summary of the latest verified data can be found below, along with links to current and archived datasets as well as supplier sustainability reports.
You can find verified data for previous years under the RTFO on the National Archives site.
Voluntary sustainability schemes
Biofuels must meet certain sustainability criteria in order to qualify under the RTFO. One way you can demonstrate that your biofuel meets these criteria is to use feedstocks produced under a recognised sustainability standard scheme
The European Commission has recognised a number of voluntary schemes as offering sufficient evidence of meeting all 3 sustainability criteria of the Renewable Energy Directive and is currently assessing a number of other schemes.
The RTFO administrator’s approach to schemes that aren’t recognised by the Commission can be found in the RTFO guidance. A table outlining the schemes recognised by the Commission is published alongside the guidance.
The RTFO team at DfT runs regular stakeholder events and publish a monthly newsletter with updates on important developments. The unit also has an expert advisory group which provides technical advice, input and expertise on issues around carbon and sustainability of biofuel.
As a supplier covered by the RTFO scheme you need to be aware of the legislation and the subsequent amendments.
The 2007 Order was amended in December 2011 to transpose the transport elements of the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) 2009/28/EC.
It was amended again in 2013 to implement the closely related requirements of articles 7a-e of the EU Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC.
- the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations (Amendment) Order 2015
- the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations (Amendment) Order 2013
- the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations (Amendment) Order 2011
- the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations (Amendment) Order 2009
- the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007
The RTFO scheme is closely aligned to reporting requirements placed on suppliers under the Motor Fuel (Road Vehicle and Mobile Machinery) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations 2012, which also form part of the UK’s transposition of the EU Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC.
In 2011 the functions of the administrator of the RTFO were transferred to the RTFO unit in the Department of Transport. The RTFO unit administers schemes under both the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007 and the Motor Fuel (Road Vehicle and Mobile Machinery) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations 2012.
The general email address for the Low Carbon Fuels team is firstname.lastname@example.org.
For queries relating to the administration of the RTFO please email email@example.com.
For queries about carbon and sustainability reporting under the RTFO please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The postal addresses are:
Low Carbon Fuels
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
Sedlescombe Road North
TN37 7GA, UK
The general enquiries contact number for the RTFO unit is: 020 7944 8555.