Diesel at the pump is now averaging about £1.20 a litre and demand for vegetable oil has soared because biodiesel attracts less duty and is about 10-15 pence cheaper.
Quenton Kelley,owner of Green Miles Fuels, a used cooking oil collector company that operates in London and Hertfordshire, has said that this has had an adverse affect on his business because individual cowboys are stealing his supplies of used cooking oil.
Kelley leaves his own barrels in restaurant yards where staff fill them and return them with used oil which he then sells onto biodiesel producers.
He said: My barrels seem to be stolen more regularly when, for instance, outside the chip shop or pub. The barrels are left in the back yard with used cooking oil in them but when I go to collect it the oil from the barrels are gone. When I ask the chefs what has happened to my barrels they say they dont know. These cowboys have to stop stealing my equipment.
Restaurants can be prosecuted if they pour used cooking oil down drains or sewers. With used cooking oil being controlled waste under EU legislation, restaurants must give the recipient of this waste a waste transfer note to certify that cooking oil is being disposed of legally. Kelley only accepts used cooking oil with a waste transfer note but said some unlicensed traders are disposing of oil without receiving the required documentation. He said the Environment Agency should enforce the system more strongly.
Image: Green Miles Fuels owner Quenton Kelley emptying 120 litre barrel of used cooking oil