UK COMBINABLE crop and sugar beet growers will have continued access to the European biofuels market for the next five years – so long as they are covered by Red Tractor Assurance.

Since 2012, compliance with Red Tractor standards has demonstrated the sustainability of British crops entering the European biofuels supply chain. That assurance expired in August, but the European Commission then granted two short-term extensions to allow UK crops to continue to be eligible for the biofuels market while final checks were carried out ahead of a full re-authorisation.

The EC has now confirmed that it will continue to recognise the scheme under the Renewable Energy Directive, running until 2023, regardless of any negotiations or new policy structures which are formed as part of the UK’s exit from the EU.

“I’m delighted that we have now got our full five-year renewal,” said Red Tractor chief executive Jim Moseley. “What this means for farmers is that for the next five years they have free market access to the biofuel market and there is no additional cost or assessment required for Red Tractor assured farms.”

Red Tractor has 16,500 members within its combinable crops and sugar beet scheme. Defra statistics show that there are currently about 70,000 hectares of crops grown annually for the biofuels market.

A small change has been made to the Red Tractor standards, which will only affect UK growers who have converted land to arable for the production of biofuels in the past 10 years. A communication containing full details of the change has been sent to growers and will also be updated in the scheme’s standards online.