The livestock industry is appealing against a decision to stop renderers using tallow as a fuel because they fear it will hit farmgate beef prices and push up fallen stock collection costs by 15-30%.

Renderers have been told by the Rural Payments Agency that their contracts for the Older Cattle Disposal Scheme will be withdrawn if they continue to use tallow as a fuel in their plants after 24 April.

The RPA says the Waste Incineration Directive, introduced on 28 December, 2005, classifies tallow as a waste rather than a product – despite tallow being used as fuel in many plants for some years.

The UK Rendering Association said renderers had reluctantly decided they had no choice but to cease using tallow as a fuel even though it will lead to added costs of £30-50m/yr for the industry.

In a letter sent to DEFRA it pointed out that these were costs renderers will have to pass back to the meat and livestock businesses they serve even though “there are serious doubts as to their ability to meet them”.

It also said that there would be enormous environmental consequences because tallow is a carbon neutral renewable biofuel.

UKRA has estimated that if all tallow used as a fuel in 2005 had been replaced by fossil fuels it would mean 0.75m tonnes of CO2 emissions.

A spokesman said:

“The UKRA has invested heavily in legal advice over almost three years, in a bid to find a way through with DEFRA.

We will continue to fight, but have no choice but to comply.

“This has put us in a corner.

Other member states have found a way round this, for example, the Irish determined that in this case WID regulations did not apply.”