Historic biofuels delegation heads to Europe

European proposals that pose a significant risk to the UK biofuels industry will be challenged this week as a united British supply chain delegation visits Brussels.

The European Commission’s Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) proposals put at risk major UK investments in bio refining, threaten UK exports of oilseed rape and remove the market incentive for sustainable increased production.

It is the first time the UK industry has joined together to present a unified voice for the sector in response to the European Commission’s Indirect Land Use Change Proposal. The delegation consisting of, the NFU, Renewable Energy Association (REA), Seed Crushers and Processors Association (SCOPA) and the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) have come together to agree a common statement on the Commission’s proposals.

James MillsNFU combinable crops adviser James Mills said: “The Commission’s ILUC proposals threaten important agricultural markets that have allowed UK arable farmers to add extra value to their crops and further reduce the UK’s dependence on imported protein.

“The proposals fly in the face of current CAP negotiations that aim to increase biodiversity and have been increasingly concerned about domestic protein production. In one breath the European Union has challenged the agricultural community to become increasingly market focussed and in the next we are being penalised for doing so.

“This common position will allow the NFU, along with the Renewable Energy Association, AIC and Scopa to speak powerfully with one voice at home and in Europe, to defend important markets, essential to developing an economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture.”

Clare Wenner, Head of Renewable Transport at the REA, said: “UK-produced biofuels are among the most sustainable in the world. Sustainability rules have been in force in the UK for nearly 5 years now and standards, as well as productivity, have risen across arable agriculture. The biofuels sector has led the way.

“The proposals would be a step backwards, raising our greenhouse gas emissions, threatening our jobs and scaring away potential investment in cleaner fuel for our cars.

“It is sad that the European Commission appear to have fallen prey to a misguided view that by damaging the prospects for good biofuels a range of global problems will be solved such as world hunger, climate change and land grabbing. This view is extremely simplistic and is prompted by those who fear competition and seem unwilling to address these real global problems in a collaborative way. We very much hope that our own decision-makers in the UK will listen to the united call from the biofuels supply chain to protect our jobs and investment.”