In light of recent EU legislation changes affecting biofuel production, the NFU is urging the Department for Transport to raise the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to restore confidence in markets for farmers and processors and meet the country’s current EU biofuel target.
The cap on the volume of crops allowed to be used for biofuel is now seven per cent, down from a minimum of ten per cent in total. As the UK is currently running at around four per cent, this warrants an opportunity – albeit smaller than before – for a significant increase in domestic biofuel use, if the DfT kick-started demand through the RTFO.
The DfT has pointed to controversial EU proposals on Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) as a justification for falling far behind obligations to increase biofuel inclusion. Now these proposals are legislation, the NFU is pushing the DfT to meet UK commitments within the EU Renewable Energy Directive, and by doing this they will re-open markets for UK farmers.
The NFU’s farmer expert on biofuels and crops board chairman for the North East, Brett Askew, said: “The biofuel industry has led the way in demonstrating standards on farm in the UK, across Europe and subsequently raising sustainability around the world.
“With legislation passed this week limiting the amount of crops used for biofuel to address concerns about ILUC, and bringing certainty to the status of the Renewable Energy Directive, it is time for our government to put the RTFO back on track towards meeting the UK’s 10 per cent biofuel commitment.
“Looking forward, regulators must look at what is deliverable when considering their options to decarbonise the transport sector up to 2030 and beyond.
“The NFU will continue to work proactively in this area and it is clear in my mind that crop-based biofuels must play a significant part in the debate, as one of very few scalable and sustainable alternatives at present.”