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Parliament adopts a "balanced position" on forest bioenergy, trade bodies say

Reacting to the European Parliament’s vote January 17 on the Directive on the Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewable Sources (RED II), forest owners and managers welcome it as a positive step. The outcome "recognises the importance of forests and their role in tackling climate change" said the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa & Cogeca) and European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) in a joint statement.

An integrated sawmill, pellet plant and combined heat and power (CHP) plant illustrates local scale forest-based bioeconomy.

In particular, forest owners and managers recognise the efforts made by MEPs to set up a suitable system to verify sustainable forest biomass sourcing (Article 26). This was achieved by rejecting the “devastating” amendment on regulating the use of different types of biomass feedstocks.

The “risk-based” approach, which was supported in the vote, takes into account existing legislation and tools on sustainable forest management although certain sustainability requirements still need to be refined and simplified.

The three organisations also welcome the fact that MEPs have recognized the important contribution forest-based advanced biofuels make to a more climate-friendly transport sector, with opportunities to increase green growth and jobs in EU rural areas.

By keeping feedstocks such as tall oil and pulpwood in the raw material list (Annex IX), Parliament acknowledges the importance of a stable policy environment for current and planned investments. However, signatories for the trio regret that MEPs want to allow the Commission to be able to remove feedstocks from Annex IX, this could have a negative impact on long-term biofuel investments they said.

CEPF, Copa & Cogeca, EUSTAFOR also urge EU policy-makers to “pay attention” to the wording on waste hierarchy and market distortions as this could result in the introduction of the cascading use principle into legislation. It has been highlighted by the Commission, that the principle is not fit for EU legislation and goes against market principles. These formulations should consequently be removed during the next steps of the legislative process.

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