The European Commission has confirmed that Red Tractor assured combinable crops and sugar beet are fully authorised as sustainable biofuel feedstocks for the next five year period.
It says this new recognition under the EU Renewable Energy Directive will run until 2023, regardless of whatever happens as a result of the ongoing Brexit process. But UK growers who have converted land to arable in order to produce biofuel crops in the last 10 years will have to keep additional records, with peatland excluded from the scheme except under certain conditions.
The previous five year period had expired in August 2017, causing some difficulty with harvest movements. The Commission granted two short-term extensions to allow UK biofuel crops to be traded and moved ahead of the full reauthorisation.
Defra estimates that some 70,000 hectares of UK arable crops are grown for the biofuels market each year. There are 16,500 UK combinable crop and sugar beet growers in the Red Tractor scheme.
“It’s taken a huge amount of technical work to get our full five-year renewal , but we now have that confirmation from the European Commission,” says Red Tractor chief executive Jim Moseley. “What this means for farmers is that for the next five years they have free market access to the biofuel market and there is no additional cost or assessment required for Red Tractor assured farms.”