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Scottish farmers seek solutions for biofuel-related machinery problems

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The National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFU Scotland) is currently pursuing high-level solutions to the machinery problems many Scottish and UK farmers have been experiencing, linked to the biofuel content in fuel.

As fuel is a reserved issue, NFU Scotland is seeking support from both the Scottish and UK Governments to find a solution and mitigate the problem. At the end of last year, fuel manufacturer Petroineos decided to reduce biofuel content as a short-term solution – a decision that was welcomed by the Scottish union.

Petroineos, which is the only crude oil refinery in Scotland, committed to reducing the volume of biofuel blended into its fuel in November 2019, while it continues to investigate the cause of fuel problems being experienced by users.

NFU Scotland has called on the UK Government to: broker a fuel replacement scheme to enable farmers who have problematic fuel on farm to receive a fuel uplift and refill of alternative fuel suitable for their needs; conduct a review of the specification and testing protocols to ensure fuel produced within the UK is fit for purpose and reliable; and to lead further research into the behaviour of recycled oil and animal fats within diesel and to assess if specific fats should be excluded from diesel.

A survey is currently being conducted by the National Farmers Union to understand the specific types of machines that have been impacted by the use of biofuel in fuel, and to assess the cause of filter blocking in agricultural vehicles.

“Fuel problems remain a top priority for our members and time and resource continues to be dedicated towards finding practical solutions and apply lessons from this event to ensure fuel issues such as this cannot impact agriculture again,” commented Zoe Meldrum, NFU Scotland policy adviser.

“Our political engagement and participation in the taskforce back that up. Members’ evidence has been fundamental in understanding the problem and more than 400 contacted NFUS in November and December and we thank them for the invaluable information. We are asking members who are continuing to have problems to complete the survey when they experience a problem.”