18 Dec 2023
by Oli Hill

European Commission maintains UK biofuels assurance status after AIC talks


The potential for significant disruption to the UK biofuels market has been avoided after the European Commission announced it will not implement major changes to its assurance scheme recognition process from the end of 2023.

It comes after months of intense efforts from the agri-supply trade association - the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) - working with industry, government and other assurance schemes in the UK and across Europe.

Collaborative discussions led the European Commission to reconsider a move that would have ended accreditation recognition for UK-based voluntary schemes assuring materials for biofuels under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) II.

In June, the Commission notified assurance scheme owners AIC, Red Tractor Assurance (RTA) and Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) of its intention to withdraw accreditation for UK-based RED II assurance schemes at the end of 2023.

The Commission said its decision was made because it only recognises schemes accredited in EU Member States, and the UK is now regarded as a third country since it left the EU.

The rule change posed the potential for UK biofuel materials such as grain, maize and oilseeds to no longer be accepted by EU markets into the New Year.

Welcome decision

Since the summer, AIC has been working with other voluntary schemes, industry and the Government to resolve the potential loss of the UK's RED II biofuels assurance status with the European Commission.

In early November AIC and the other voluntary scheme owners met with the Commission in a bid to address concerns and seek an urgent resolution to mitigate the potential loss of scheme recognition.

With a matter of weeks left until its end-of-year deadline, the Commission informed AIC that it would postpone the implementation of the relevant regulation on certification.

Rose Riby, AIC's Head of Arable Marketing, said: "The European Commission's decision is hugely welcomed by AIC as it removes the potential for UK voluntary scheme recognition to be withdrawn in the near future, maintaining access to the EU market as a valuable outlet for biofuels under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) II.

"This positive development will be of significant relief to UK farmers, growers and businesses trading in the biofuels market and should offer some reassurance.

"AIC's engagement with the European Commission, stakeholders, Members and scheme Participants on this matter will continue into 2024 as all parties seek a more permanent solution for the industry.”

Notes for editors

The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is the UK’s leading trade association, representing agricultural supply chain sectors including arable marketing, crop protection, agronomy, feed, fertiliser, and seed. 

Formed in 2003, AIC has over 230 Members in the agri-supply trade which are responsible for £17.8 billion of annual farm trade.

AIC is marking 20 years as the leading voice of the UK agri-supply industry, working in support of modern, sustainable, commercial agriculture. Visit the website to find out more.

Political lobbying and policy influencing is a major part of its work, as well as supporting Members with technical information.  

AIC Services, which is the professional services arm of the AIC, manages a range of services, including Assurance Schemes recognised by UK government as essential tools to underpin feed and food safety alongside fertiliser security. These include:  

Visit the AIC website to find out more.

Press contact 

Oli Hill, Communications Manager, AIC 
+44 (0)1733 385230
[email protected]


Oli Hill

Oli Hill

Communications Manager, AIC

As Communications Manager, Oli creates and oversees the content published on AIC's website, emails, Member briefings, print publications, and social media.

A qualified multimedia journalist, he previously spent six years working at Farmers Weekly magazine as a Senior Reporter on the arable team, and latterly as Community Editor. More recently he was Communications Manager at Red Tractor.

[email protected]
01733 385230

Read lessmore