28 July 2005


Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has shown concern for the Waste Incineration Directive which is due to be implemented throughout the European Union on 28 December 2005. The directive would introduce minimum technical requirements and stringent operating conditions on the disposal of waste through incineration and co-incineration.

Mr Stevenson highlighted the case of tallow, rendered fat, which when burned can be used as a clean and efficient biofuel. Under the Animal By-products Regulation which is currently in force, the tallow is burned in steam raising boilers. Tallow is classified as carbon neutral and is therefore more environmentally friendly than other high carbon-emitting fuels such as heavy fuel oil.

All of these concerns have been voiced by NFU Scotland and the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers.

Commenting on the proposals in the Directive and their implications, Mr Stevenson said:

“Unfortunately, under the new proposals, new operating conditions will be introduced for the disposal procedure. This would require those in the rendering industry to install expensive new equipment to monitor the disposal of the tallow. Instead of doing this, many in the industry are likely to revert to burning heavy fuel oil, which burns with a larger proportion of CO2 emissions. The average increase in costs is estimated at £25/tonne.

“In the short term, we would hope that tallow would be made exempt from the proposed Directive. If we want to solve the problem permanently, however, a suitable strategy would be to reclassify tallow as a product rather than waste.

“I have therefore written to the Scottish Executive regarding the implementation of the directive and have urged them to make representations to the European institutions.”

Speaking in Peterhead, SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:

“It is concerning to hear that yet again it seems one side of the European Commission does not know what the other side has been doing.

“Hopefully we will be able to raise this issue with the folks in Brussels in time to stop these unforeseen consequences occurring.

“Scotland could do so well out of renewable energy and that debate is not just about the well known sources like windfarms. The energy mix in Scotland would make other countries green with envy, we'll be making sure that this directive does not trip us up.”

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