Proposals from the European Commission, amending legislation to recognise the value of tallow as a fuel, removing it from the realms of complex and inappropriate waste controls, have been welcomed by the National Farmers' Union (NFU).
The revised text of the Animal By-Products Regulation clarifies that animal by-products can be used as a fuel in the promotion of sustainable energy generation and states it is not a waste disposal operation.
NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said: "This is a hugely significant and welcome step by the Commission. Burning tallow as a fuel in rendering plants, in compliance with the Waste Incineration Directive, was costly and bureaucratic, coupled with the nonsensical situation that the only alternative practice for abattoirs was to burn fossil fuels.
"The NFU has long been campaigning for tallow to be recognised as a fuel and not as a waste. Using tallow as a fuel creates an effective closed-loop system for reuse of some of the tallow produced in rendering plants across the country, burning with fewer emissions than heavy fuel oil.
"This will help the rendering industry to keep costs in check at a time when energy prices are soaring. We look to the Council and the Parliament to make a timely decision on these proposals, so that we can draw a line under the uncertainty which has plagued the industry for the past three-and-a-half years."
Stuart Roberts, director at the British Meat Processors Association, was also delighted with the move. "BMPA along with a number of others in the industry have been fighting for Tallow to be allowed to be classified as a fuel for some time. This is especially important at a time when fuel costs are soaring and margins in the processing sector are getting ever tighter. It has always been ridiculous that a perfectly viable fuel source has been disposed of as a waste product. We very much look forward to these proposals being adopted."