Sustainable transport minister Norman Baker said that the high upfront cost for refuelling infrastructure was a significant barrier to the wider uptake of gas vehicles, and that existing infrastructure for natural gas and biomethane was relatively sparse.

Speaking at the UK’s first biomethane and gas vehicle conference in London this week, Baker said the Government would be providing support for the sector through the Green Investment Bank, which included funding for a £21bn anaerobic digestion plant in Dagenham.

“We recognise the potential for growth in biomethane in transport and that using wastes to make fuels is a win-win, offering both carbon savings and avoiding the risk of indirect land use change which is an issue with some crop-based biofuels,” he said.

His comments were made during the launch of a new online gas vehicle hub at the event. Developed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich in partnership with the industry, and with air quality grant funding, the website features a database of UK natural and biomethane gas producers and refuelling stations.

Designed to facilitate the uptake of gas-powered vehicle procurement and increase gas refuelling provision and operations, the website launch was welcomed by sustainable transport minister Norman Baker in the conference’s keynote address.

“I am delighted that the Royal Borough of Greenwich is launching the website at the event today,” he said. “The site contains information on all vehicles, refuelling sites, biomethane producers and case studies of trial fleets.”

Launching the website, which goes live on June 14, lead air quality officer at the Royal Borough of Greenwich Ciara Longman added that converting to low-emission fuels not only reduce carbon emissions but also had a “tremendous impact on air quality”.

“Vehicle emissions are the main contributor to air pollution and so we thought we’d get together an information portal to join up industry and government, suppliers and users to get as much information together on encouraging gas vehicles.”

Longman highlighted the hub’s content, including information on gas refuelling stations, anaerobic digestion production sites and case studies of successful operations and urged delegates to contribute to the website’s development.

Nick Warburton

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