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Row over biofuel 'waste'.

Byline: By TOMOS LIVINGSTONE Western Mail

A whitehall storm is brewing over the unlikely subject of whether animal fat can help combat global warming. The burning of animal tallow, which can be used as a biofuel and is used to help power meat rendering plants, has been prohibited by the way the Government has interpreted an EU directive.

The Department of Transport has been encouraging its use as a fuel, while the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is insisting the EU ban must stand. Other nations like Germany and France have used a device known as a derogation to get round the rules.

Renderers now face having to waste an environmentally-friendly fuel - thus pushing up costs and producing more CO2. The St Merryn Plant in Merthyr Tydfil is one of those affected.

Brecon and Radnorshire MP Roger Williams said Defra - which is taking the lead on the issue in Wales and England - were 'flying in the face of common sense'.

He has tabled a Commons motion calling for the EU directive, which came into force on Monday, not to be implemented.

He said, 'Very few renderers can afford pounds 300,000 for a new incinerator, so they'll have to transport their tallow major distances. Transporting the tallow will result in three-quarters-of-a- million tonnes of additional CO2 emissions across the UK.

'Burnt on its own, tallow can be used as a biofuel. But now it'll have to be burnt with fossil fuels, using 83,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil across the UK per year. We are literally wasting an energy source, it's like burning oil. The Department of Transport is encouraging the use of tallow as a biofuel in Scotland, while Defra are banning it down here.'

Gareth Vaughan of the Farmers Union of Wales said, 'It is ironic that just days after chief scientist Professor David King warned that global warming could destroy major forest systems and put 400 million more people at risk of hunger, the Government will introduce a law effectively banning the burning of a biofuel, which will also cost the farming industry between pounds 40m and pounds 50m and massively increase carbon emissions.'

A Defra spokesman said the European Commission is studying the impact of the directive, which is due later this year. The legal position could alter as a result, he said.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 27, 2006
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