UK biofuels move alarms green groups

New rules requiring all petrol and diesel sold in UK forecourts to contain at least 2.5% biofuel come into force on Tuesday, but environmental campaigners warn that the move may cause the loss of vital habitat worldwide.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation requires oil companies to ensure all petrol and diesel they sell in the UK contains a minimum level of biofuel. But campaigners have condemned the absence of standards requiring producers to prove their biofuel is not the product of highly damaging agricultural practices, the Independent reported.

A study by Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds described the introduction of the rules as "utter folly". The conservation body said there is already widespread evidence that biofuel production is destroying vast areas of unspoilt habitat and has made at least one species of bird extinct.

The World Bank and the UN have, in recent days, expressed concern about the impact of biofuels on world food prices. Gordon Brown has put the issue on the agenda at the forthcoming G8 summit in Japan.

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