By Dow Jones Business News, March 13, 2013, 05:51:00 AM EDT
By Michael Haddon
U.K. farmers now have better access to their domestic biofuels market after the country's crops were shown to emit
fewer greenhouse gas emissions than originally feared, according to the Home Grown Cereals Authority.
From April, crops entering the biofuel supply chain must demonstrate that greenhouse gas emissions associated with
their cultivation are equal to or lower than default values set by the European Union's renewable energy directive.
Either figures from individual farms or regional areas can be used to calculate whether U.K. crops meet these targets,
the HGCA said late Tuesday, but the latter caused concern when submitted to the EU's executive arm in 2010 as many key
production areas fell short and would have restricted access.
However, the HGCA said revised figures it supplied have now been approved by the European Commission and can be used
by biofuel suppliers when reporting under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation.
"The great news is that the EC have accepted the revised regional figures and they can be used with immediate effect,
thus ending a period of great uncertainty, boosting confidence and potentially adding several million pounds to the
value of the UK biofuel supply chain each year," said Harley Stoddart, HGCA research and knowledge transfer manager.
The HGCA said the revised figures paint a far better picture for U.K. biofuel cultivation, with 97% of rapeseed
production meeting the criteria, compared to less than 5% previously, and 100% of sugar beet output complying, compared
to 0% previously.
The percentage of winter wheat production meeting the criteria was stable at 84%, from around 83% previously.
The HGCA said the review was possible after a consortium collated improved data for average yields, rapeseed oil
content, fertiliser use, fuel consumption, organic matter in soil and nitrogen content of residues returned to soils.
"Growers should not be alarmed if their area is in excess of the [Renewable Energy Directive] default values, as
solutions may still be found," said Mr. Stoddart. "The key is to discuss contracts with buyers and use carbon
footprinting tools to help understand what can be done on-farm to reduce [greenhouse gas] emissions," he added.
Write to Michael Haddon at email@example.com or on Twitter @MichaelHaddonDJ
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