Supporters, Activities and Events

Simon Hughes Launches his election campaign at Uptown Oil                        07/04/10    
Uptown Oil win 3.5m Richmond Tender                                                                07/09/09    
Uptown invited to present at BioSIRE 2009 Conference in Crete                    31/07/09    
Bio-diesel backed by Greens – but only if it is recycled                                    30/05/09    
Uptown Wins Knowledge Connect Award from the GLA                                    06/05/09    
First Mobile Biodiesel Unit at Borough Market                                                   28/02/09    
Simon Hughes Launches his election campaign at Uptown Oil     

Simon is MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey. He is also National Spokesperson for Climate Change and Energy for the Liberal Democrats. He also drives a taxi.

It was therefore an obvious synergy for Uptown Biodiesel and Simon to get together to highlight the importance of low carbon fuels and the role locally produced biodiesel can play in our urban areas.

Simon is using locally sourced vehicles powered by locally sourced fuels to move around the constituency during his campaign. A long time Fairway owner, Simon has upgraded to a newer LTI TXII for his campaign. The taxi was resprayed and delivered on 6th April.

The cab, which has been painted in Liberal Democrat orange for the campaign, will be powered by locally sourced biofuels provided by Uptown Biodiesel of Southwark. Uptown produces biodiesel from waste vegetable oil collected from businesses around London. Biodiesel produced from waste is one of the most environmentally sustainable transport fuels available and uses oil that might otherwise might be disposed of. Uptown is based in the constituency and supplies fuels to cabbies from across London.

When not in his cab, Simon will be travelling around on another London icon, a Brompton folding bike also painted yellow. Simon is a long time cyclist, after he gave up his last cab two years ago, Simon has cycled, walked or used public transport around the constituency.

Commenting on the launch of his new taxi Simon Hughes MP said: “For nearly two years I have been doing all I can to help the planet by not driving my old taxi cab and walking, cycling or using public transport to travel around Southwark. But by popular demand I have now obtained a new Simon taxi. And with the help of the local firm Uptown Oil I have the most environmentally sustainable fuel as well. “I will be proud to show off my new cab and my new bike around the community. I couldn’t have wished for a better start on two wheels and on four to the general election campaign which starts officially next week.”

Simon Hughes MP and his Bio-taxi  
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Uptown Oil win 3.5m Richmond Tender   
Click below to see the ITN News Report

Richmond Council is turning to the capital’s kitchens for fuel, as it becomes the first local authority in the country to run its 200-strong vehicle fleet on biodiesel made from 100 per cent recycled cooking oil.

The move is expected to cut the Council’s CO2 output by 1,170 tonnes per year and will save thousands of pounds on the authority’s fuel bill. The deal negotiated with our supplier equates to more than five pence per litre less than standard diesel fuel.

A number of other local authorities and organisations already run vehicles on fuel containing a small percentage of biofuel and 90-95 per cent standard diesel. Richmond upon Thames is the first borough to use 100 per cent biofuel. This will be bought from firms within London, ensuring the carbon footprint involved in transporting it kept as low as possible.
Councillor David Trigg, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Traffic, Transport and Parking, said: “Protecting the environment is at the core of everything Richmond Council stands for and making our vehicle fleet run on used cooking oil is a huge sign of our commitment to cutting CO2 in the air.
“The decision has also been a commercial one – the contract the Council has negotiated will see our fuel costs drop as the biodiesel will be more than five pence per litre less than standard diesel. This means more money will be available to fund front line projects like supporting the elderly and helping people through the recession.
The decision to switch all vehicles to 100 per cent bio-fuels is expected to be confirmed at a meeting of the Council’s cabinet on September 7. Following a competitive tendering process, Uptown Oils from South East London will be approved as the main supplier and Proper Oils, based in Twickenham, as the reserve supplier in a contract worth up to £3.5million over five years.
The decision to use two firms both based in London is a sign of support for the capital’s economy and means the carbon footprint for the collection of the cooking oil and the processing and delivery of it to the Council will also be lower.
The decision to change the whole fleet to run on environmentally friendly bio-diesel follows a successful trial in 2007 to resolve issues with the fuel. The Council is pleased with the results and also with the quality of bio-diesel which can be produced from cooking oil. The trial showed no significant differences between this fuel at 100 per cent and lower mix ratios or standard diesel.
The Council’s vehicle fleet ranges from rubbish vehicles to trucks for moving around bulky materials like paving slabs and street furniture. The vehicles need no alterations or works to run on biofuels as this is a straight replacement fuel, they can also switch back to standard diesel if required.
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Uptown Oil invited to present at BioSIRE 2009 conference in Crete                10/09/09

Richard Morrow, Uptown's newly appointed Sales Manager kicked off his new role by presenting at BIOSIRE 2009, a conference for the Tourist Industry looking for ways to lower its carbon footprint. This years conference was held in Heraklion, Crete on the 10th September with a focus on sourcing used cooking oil for recycled biodiesel production. As Uptown collects UCO from over a thousand restaurants in London and the South East every week, the company had a lot to share with our Europeans counterparts.



BIOSIRE aims to establish a shift towards biodiesel and electric propulsion for fleets, ships and special vehicles in tourist areas in Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Croatia and Austria. The consortium is composed of regional authorities of tourist areas, energy agencies and research and consultancy organisations specialised in energy, agriculture and transport.

BIOSIRE local actions are directed at market transformation and changing the behaviour of fleet operators, tourists and residents, farmers and the potential suppliers of used cooking oils. These actions cover the full production and distribution chain.

BIOSIRE co-operates closely with other projects on sustainable tourism and alternative propulsion and invites their representatives to discuss common themes.

BIOSIRE will formulate recommendations for other tourist regions and provides the opportunity for these regions to be directly involved in project events. National events are organized in Poland and Croatia to reach out to regional actors.

The BIOSIRE website gathers the project’s outputs and other best practices on sustainable transport in tourist areas and will be a reference for both tourists and regional authorities

For more information please see the BioSIRE website here

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Bio-diesel backed by Greens – but only if it is recycled                                    30/05/09

The Green Party showed its support for the recycling of used cooking oil into biodiesel by refuelling their campaign bus at Uptown Oil - London’s leading recycler. MEP Jean Lambert and Green Party representative Peter Tatchell joined the bus on Saturday (30 May) as it stopped at Uptown during a day of campaigning for the forthcoming Euro elections.

“We are really pleased with the growing political support we are getting” said Uptown MD Nigel Jewison. “We finally seem to be getting the message across that recycled bio-diesel has a role to play in greening the environment.”

Uptown Oil has been waging a quiet but persistent campaign to highlight the threat to the environment of Governments impending 20p hike in biodiesel duty.

“This increase in tax will damage the biodiesel sector and lead to greater air pollution as it becomes too expensive to make or use biodiesel, forcing consumers back onto fossil fuels. This is particularly damaging as recycled biodiesel is made from a waste product – used cooking oil from the catering and hospitality industry, it is not made from imported fresh oil” Says Nigel.

Jean tops up the bus







Jean tops up the campaign bus with

recycled biodiesel.


The campaign by Uptown is gaining cross party support and they are optimistic that change is on the way. “One of the problems we have faced is gaining support from environmentalists.” Explained Nigel.

“Many people oppose biodiesel because it is produced from vegetable oil. The Governments approach of using tax incentives to encourage biodiesel has forced food producing land into oil producing land. This is affecting food supplies in the developing world where the oil crop is grown. Our production process is based on collecting used oil from restaurants where the oil is used as food first, so there is no such negative impact. Getting endorsement from the Green Party will help us get that message across.” 

“Of course we also welcome the fact that a normal Routemaster bus has stopped by to refuel”, says Nigel, “Imagine the impact on the environment if all London’s buses and taxis were to do the same, we can save a million tonnes of CO2 each year just from running the buses on biodiesel. Together we can make London’s air a lot cleaner. If the Green Party can do this, so can others.”

The next stage of the campaign is to engage local councils and parliament. The aim is to ensure that government’s biofuels policy does not cripple UK sustainable biofuels, but addresses the shortcomings ofdamaging foreign biofuels grown in the developing world.

Peter Tatchell

Campaigner Peter Tatchell

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Uptown Oil Wins Knowledge Connect Award from the GLA                                06/05/09    


London South Bank University and Uptown Oil Ltd have just been awarded a Knowledge Connect grant by the LDA to improve the quality of biodiesel being produced from waste vegetable oil. LSBU will work with Uptown Oil to automate their processes and chemical analysis to ensure an improved standardised product. This will give opportunities to scale up the process to more commercial levels and widen the client base.


Uptown Oil produce biodiesel from waste vegetable oil in Southwark, South London. The waste vegetable oil is collected from London's catering establishments, then filtered, processed and turned into high quality, 100% recycled biofuel. This biofuel is then ready to be used as a green fuel for diesel vehicles. For those drivers running vehicles on diesel it costs nothing to convert and the waste vegetable oil collected from cafes and restaurants is picked up for free, cutting down the waste costs of those businesses.

Uptown Oil is the only licensed biodiesel manufacturer in Central London, and already has over 900partners supplying waste vegetable oil as feedstock to their process. An important part of Uptown Oil’s business plan is to grow its presence and activity in the biodiesel supply business by becoming the established supplier of quality biodiesel.  Uptown has expanded to employ 12 people and offers biodiesel products to a range of customers. This expanding trend in demand for more sustainable fuels is set continue and this project will help Uptown to capitalise on this.
The aim is to achieve the EN14214 quality standard for biodiesel allowing the product to be marketed to a wider number of additional clients who benchmark biodiesel quality against this European standard. Once established, the sustainability of recycled biodiesel is assured as long as people fry their food and drive diesel vehicles.
This project has been identified directly by both Uptown Oil and by Professor Imad Al-Wahaib (LSBU) who on his first visit to the facility noted the potential for developments. Tony Day, Professor of Energy Engineering at LSBU is leading the project and says” this represents a huge potential in greening fuel supplies in London and shows how valuable it is for universities to collaborate with industry to solve practical problems and improve business competitiveness.”
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First Mobile Biodiesel Unit at Borough Market                                                        28/02/09    

In the first test of a mobile biodiesel unit, Uptown set up at Borough Market in Feb to provide biofuel to the traders, many of which travel from the midlands and the North of the UK.

Borough Market is a wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, South East London. It is one of the largest food markets in the world and is regarded by some as one of the highest quality markets in the United Kingdom, selling a large variety of foods from all around the world

One trader from Cumbria brought three vans twice a week to London. Increasing fossil diesel costs were significantly adding to the difficulties he faced brought on by the recession.

At 95p, Uptown's recycled biodiesel was a welcome alternative to rising fossil diesel costs.

Uptown is looking at several sites in the city which may serve as permanent biodiesel retail forecourt outlets.

Borough Market
Mobile Mike
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