Indirect land use change proposal a blow for UK oilseed and protein supply says NFU

Indirect land use change proposal a blow for UK oilseed and protein supply says NFU

A proposal to reduce the market size for biofuel production in Europe will damage farmer confidence and reduce the incentive to produce for food, feed and fuel, warned the NFU.

The warning comes following the publication of the draft opinion on the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) Proposal by the French MEP Corinne Lepage. As the European Parliament’s lead rapporteur on the Environment Committee, Ms Lepage will set the tone for forthcoming debates on the contribution that biofuels can make to the Renewable Energy Directive targets, which currently require Member States to achieve 10 per cent renewable transport fuel by 2020.

The draft opinion seeks to introduce ILUC factors on biofuel production and tightens the cap proposed by the European Commission to 4.27 per cent for biodiesel produced from oil crops. International land use modelling has provided a very wide range of results, and the NFU believes that the EU Commission has chosen one modelling result, which includes some errors that skew results against biodiesel, on which to base its proposal. The NFU also believes this deals a blow to the confidence of UK arable production, with an estimated reduction of one third in the cropped area of EU and UK oilseed rape and the impact of losing an important rotational crop on UK wheat yields.

NFU crops board member and spokesman on biofuels Brett Askew said: “We’re seriously concerned that Ms Lepage hasn’t considered the implications of her opinion on crop productivity and biodiversity on farm. Picking winners, as she has done in proposing a cap on biodiesel production, fails to reflect the interdependence of these feedstocks on-farm.

“The decision to introduce ILUC factors to control a hypothetical conflict of food versus fuel confuses two issues of agricultural production and the original ILUC greenhouse gas savings. This approach doesn’t reflect the factors behind increasing production on farm, for all markets. Simply destroying demand will not lead to an increase in future stock levels but instead a decline in production as markets correct themselves to reflect economic supply and demand levels.”

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