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Biofuels Approval Boost to Scottish Oilseeds

NFU Scotland and Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) have welcomed the announcement that the European Commission has accepted SQC into the sustainability certification scheme for biofuels.  That recognition is a huge boost ahead of the Scottish oilseed rape harvest starting in the next few weeks.

The SQC quality assurance scheme covers cereals and oilseed crops in Scotland and the commission’s decision means biofuels produced from crops certified under the Scottish scheme have met sustainability criteria set by Europe’s renewable energy and fuel quality directives. 

That recognition allows rapeseed produced on SQC approved farms better access to the growing biofuels markets at home and abroad.  Approximately 80 percent of Scottish oilseed rape is exported, much of that destined for biofuels production.

The decision is likely to be confirmed through publication in the EC’s official journal tomorrow (Thursday).
 
Douglas Morrison, chairman of SQC said: 

“For SQC to gain official approval from the European Commission is both a relief and a boost with the oilseed rape harvest only a few weeks away.   The decision will mean that crops with SQC accreditation will be able to access biofuels markets without any additional paperwork or third party audits.

“Around 80% of the Scottish oilseed crop is exported and much of that is destined for processing into biodiesel in Germany and other member states.   With harvest looming, this EU approval will help to sustain the ex-farm price for rapeseed in Scotland.  

“Although a smaller part of the biofuels market, wheat converted to ethanol in any current or future plants in the UK or elsewhere in the EU will also benefit from this new approval for SQC.”

NFU Scotland Combinable Crops Chairman Andrew Moir said:

“Scottish growers owe a debt of gratitude to Douglas and his SQC team for the work they have undertaken to secure this vital certification. They had to demonstrate the robustness of the scheme and the independence of the Certification Body to the Commission in a lengthy procedure that lasted 25 months.

“They have managed to incorporate the requirements of the Commission into the scheme standards with the minimum of additional obligations on growers and helped secure access to crucial European biofuels markets with their work, which they have successfully concluded before the 2012 harvest starts.”
 
NOTES TO EDITORS

  • In 2011, Scotland grew 38,500 hectares of oilseed rape.  The estimated worth of the 2011 crop was £554 million or 2 percent of Scotland’s agricultural output.
  • In order to receive government support or count towards mandatory national renewable energy targets, biofuels used in the EU (whether locally produced or imported) have to comply with sustainability criteria. These criteria aim at preventing the conversion of areas of high biodiversity and high carbon stock for the production of raw materials for biofuels. The entire biofuels' production and supply chain has to be sustainable. To this end, the sustainability of biofuels needs to be checked by Member States or through voluntary schemes that have been approved by the European Commission (EC).
  • More information on the European Commission Sustainability requirements can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/renewables/biofuels/sustainability_schemes_en.htm
  • More information on Scottish Quality Crops can be found at: http://www.sfqc.co.uk/farm_schemes/scottish_quality_crops_sqc

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 75/12


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