What a waste
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said that tallow, a by-product of meat processing, is a waste, not a product, and cannot be burned as a fuel in rendering plants.
Defra's interpretation of the EU Waste Incineration Directive, which came into force at the end of last year, is not shared by regulators in Ireland, France and Holland, where tallow continues to be burned.
British renderers, however, were told that they should stop burning tallow and switch to another fuel by yesterday's deadline.
The United Kingdom Renderers Association has said it would have to pass on the added costs of disposal to meat and livestock businesses even though "there are serious doubts as to their ability to meet them."
It has told Mrs Beckett that banning the burning of tallow, which is a renewable, carbon-neutral fuel, will cause the burning of £70,000 worth of fossil fuels per plant and increase Britain's rising carbon dioxide emissions by 750,000 tons a year....
"Mrs Beckett is constantly wagging her fingers at the Bush administration for using too much fossil fuel. This decision means we will actually be burning more fossil fuels. A softer interpretation would be to the benefit of everyone - and the environment."
A Defra spokesman said: "Defra's view is that the legal position is clear - tallow when incinerated is a waste and the renderers must comply with the directive.
"Defra is aware of the EC's study on the environmental impact of burning tallow, which is expected later this year. We shall review the position in the light of the commission's conclusions."
And there you have it - the whole EU/ Defra madness, have they all been eating too many hamburgers?