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More work is still needed on forestry issues in RED II say forest owner bodies

After the vote of European Parliament’s Environment Committee on the Directive on the Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewable Sources (RED recast) on October 23, forest owners and managers see as a positive step the approach taken on the forest biomass sustainability as it endorses the European Commission’s proposal.

In a joint statement, the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) and European Farmers European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa & Cogeca) say that specifically, forest owners and managers recognize the efforts made by MEPs to set up a suitable system for the verification of sustainable forest biomass sourcing (Art. 26).

This was achieved by rejecting the “devastating compromise” proposed by the Rapporteur Bas Eickhout. The “risk-based” approach that was supported in the vote takes into account existing legislation and systems on the sustainability of forest management. The formulation of certain sustainability requirements nevertheless still needs improvements.

Another critical point noted by the organisations is the introduction of wording which could lead to the imposition of the cascading use principle. It has been reiterated several times, also by the European Commission (EC), that the principle “does not fit” for EU legislation. Therefore, these formulations should be removed during the next steps of the legislative process.

Moreover, the Environment Committee (ENVI) adopted a critical stance on forest-based advanced biofuels. The opinion restricts the development of advanced biofuels by
restricting the scope of feedstocks eligible for accounting towards the target.

Development of advanced biofuels is one of the solutions to ensure a more climate-friendly transport sector and will contribute to a sustainable forestry sector as well as green growth and jobs in EU rural areas, the organisations stated.

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