PDM Group supports meat industry call for action to safeguard tallow fuel

01/01/2005

Britain's meat industry is united behind calls for changes to legislation governing the use of tallow as a fuel. At a meeting hosted by the United Kingdom Renderer's Association (UKRA), representatives from the farming unions, Government agencies, meat processors, abattoirs and renderers signed up to campaign for change.

Tallow is used in many household products including soap, cosmetics and paint. It is also a clean green fuel that has been used to power renderers, abattoirs and power plants in the UK since the early 1990s. The Animal By-Products Regulation (ABPR) classifies tallow as a waste when burned, and until now that hasn't been a problem. But, with the introduction of the Waste Incineration Directive (WID) at the end of this year tallow users will have to be WID compliant.

UKRA technical director Stephen Woodgate told the meeting "In many cases, compliance simply isn't an option. Users will have no alternative but to revert to fossil fuels. Aside from the financial implications, many abattoirs and renderers simply don't have the space to accomodate additional plant and equipment."

In his welcome address, independent chairman and former Agriculture Minister John Gummer MP spoke of "the unforeseen consequences of two otherwise sensible pieces of legislation". He added, "the UKRA's action to promote the issue with DEFRA, the Environment Agency and in Europe has undoubtedly opened minds. The Government has recognised the seriousness of the matter, but we must still press hard for change to take place."

Speaking after the meeting, UKRA Chairman Gordon Braide said: "Together, the British meat industry is determined to be heard on this issue. Common sense dictates that it would be wrong to effectively prevent the burning of a green, clean fuel such as tallow. And as a consequence, drive an industry back to using fossil fuels, with all the negative implications that will have on our environment."

Delegates are now lobbying Government ministers, local MPs and MEPs to reinforce the need for change. They are working, too, with European counterparts to draw support from other member states. Their goal: in the short term, an exemption for tallow under WID; and longer term, reclassification of tallow as a product, not a waste.

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