EU vote on biofuels ‘undermines food security’ says NFU

The latest vote by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee signifies a bad day for sustainable biofuels and damages renewable energy policy across Europe, the NFU has said.

The vote on the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) proposal will enforce a 6 per cent cap on amount of crops used for fuel. This will hinder markets available to farmers in the UK and Europe and restrict the enormous contribution crop based biofuels makes in reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels within the transport sector.

The legislative U-turn is said to undermine improvements in European food security through the production of high protein animal feed, which accounts for up to 40 per cent of crops’ output when made into biofuel.

NFU North East Combinable Crops Chairman and farmer Brett Askew stated the NFU will continue to lobby for a minimum cap of 8 per cent and explained: “The decision is another example of farmers being told what to grow and what markets they can and cannot access.

“The result ignores the simple fact that biofuels produced from certified sustainable arable crops, for example under the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme1 and similar, offer a cost efficient solution to improve both food and energy security in the UK and Europe.

“A cap of 6 per cent puts at risk these enormous benefits on farm and within wider society. While the imposition of ILUC factors represents another example of misguided policy making by damaging a developing industry with legislation based on selectively relying inconclusive and highly debatable scientific evidence.

“The NFU urges the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of Ministers to come to a more compromise based on credible and reliable scientific evidence during their negotiations. In addition to this, existing investments must be safeguarded with grandfathering of current levels of production should ILUC factors continue to be discussed.”

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