The farmers’ union has called for an urgent derogation on the inclusion of biofuel in diesel after insisting farmers and crofters are facing a crisis because of serious issues with agricultural machinery.
Farmers, hauliers, fuel suppliers and distributors attended a meeting with Petroineos, the only crude oil refinery in Scotland, after 280 NFU Scotland members reported problems with fuel splitting, poor machinery performance and frequently blocked fuel filters.
Petroineos told the delegates they produce fuel within the required specification including the biofuel content, but the union said it believed there is an issue with the specification in EU standards relating to biofuel inclusion (EN 14214), a problem exacerbated by cold weather.
NFUS president Andrew McCornick said farmers were frustrated to find themselves in a situation where machinery can’t be relied on to operate as they would expect, with some left without transport to feed livestock or carry out cultivations.
He warned of possible implications for local authorities as the industry played an important role in winter resilience in rural areas by carrying out functions such as snow clearance.
Until a solution can be found, the union has called on the UK and Scottish governments to provide a derogation on the inclusion of biofuel in diesel.
Mr McCornick added: “We recognise that the inclusion of biofuel is to help reduce emissions and has an important role in industry working to mitigate the impacts of climate change. However, the industry cannot function without reliable machinery and continue to bear the associated costs, so a solution must be found as soon as possible.”
The Scottish Government and Department of Transport were contacted.