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Biofuels debate set to continue after European Parliament vote

The biofuels debate is set to continue in Europe after a European Parliament vote today highlighted the deep divisions between MEPs and member states over the future of the policy, and shows that the debate is far from over, the NFU said today.

The Parliament agreed to a six per cent cap of crop-based biofuel production and ILUC (Indirect Land Use Change) factors from 2020, but gave no clear mandate to begin negotiations with the Environment Council.

NFU combinable crops adviser James Mills said: “It is clear that many MEPs are not happy with the direction of the European Parliament’s biofuels policy and it looks very likely that the issue will have to come back for a Second Reading. Many of the votes on key amendments divided the chamber down the middle and a majority of MEPs actually voted against giving the lead MEP on this issue a mandate to move into final negotiations with the European Commission and the EU’s 28 member states – this means the debate is far from over.

“The MEPs have supported a six per cent cap on first generation biofuels, which is an improvement on the European Commission’s initial proposal for five per cent. We still believe a potential cap coupled with ILUC factors would be misplaced as they are based on inconclusive science that would harm the future of an industry that can deliver real benefits on farm and deliver sustainable production of food, animal feed and renewable fuels. We hope that figure would be increased in the likely event of a second reading.

“If crop-based biofuels are limited then an estimated £700 million of UK farm gate revenue would be put at risk, which would be a further setback for the UK biofuel industry which has seen significant investment in developing infrastructure over recent years.”


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