MEP seeks Europe-wide ban on 'splash and dash' biofuel trading

Daily Telegraph--The European commission will be challenged tomorrow by a British MEP to halt the "splash and dash" biofuels trading scam revealed by the Guardian last month.

Linda McAvan, a Labour MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, said the shipping of biodiesel from Europe to the US and back again just to exploit American agricultural subsidies was "outrageous" and wants the commission to make it illegal.

"The practice highlighted by the Guardian whereby biofuels are shipped from the EU to the USA and back again is outrageous. Getting biofuels right, so that they provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, is a difficult but worthy goal and this kind of profiteering just cannot be justified," she said.

"We need tough sustainability criteria for biofuels to maintain consumer confidence and increase the pressure for 'second generation' fuels. We need those criteria in place quickly," she added.

"Splash and dash" involves shipping biodiesel from Europe to the US where a "splash" of petroleum is added, allowing traders to claim 11p a litre of US subsidy. The fuel is then shipped back and sold below European prices. It is estimated that up to 10% of biofuel exports from the US to Europe are part of this rogue scheme.

Splash and dash is not illegal but makes a mockery of the environmental reasons behind the introduction of biofuels at the forecourt. It involves unnecessary shipping across the Atlantic, which increases emissions of greenhouse gases but also undermines European producers, industry officials say.