Crops assurance body Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) has secured a 12-month extension to its membership of Europe’s Renewable Energy Directive (Red) – allowing export of produce to EU countries for use as biofuel.
Oilseed rape is predominantly the crop affected by the directive in Scotland.
And the early confirmation that growers can export as usual this summer means the industry will not suffer from the confusion experienced by Red Tractor producers in England, when their membership briefly lapsed several years go.
Membership of the scheme is granted for only five years at a time and in Scotland it was due to expire this summer, which prompted SQC to start negotiations for an extension 12 months ago.
However, despite the prompt approach, SQC executive director Alistair Ewan said there were fears the coronavirus crisis would delay any decision being made in Brussels.
“We were nervous that the administration would be delayed, but we have just received official notification from the EU, which means growers can continue to supply biofuels up to July 2021, when the current scheme terminates for all European members,” he said.
“In the current circumstances it’s great to have a good news story. It’s just as well we started the process early.”
A new European scheme will replace the current Red from next July and Mr Ewan said it would be necessary to secure membership, despite the UK leaving the EU.
He added: “We will still be selling crops into the EU so we will have to apply for membership.
“Scotland has already been invited to have a seat at the table during the consultations and developments to ensure there is a scheme in place for July 2021.”