Germany has temporarily relaxed rules requiring raw materials for biofuels come from sustainable output, a move which industry bodies said on Wednesday will smooth imports of rapeseed and rapeseed oil for biodiesel use.
Only Germany and Austria will implement the European Union's Renewable Fuels Directive on schedule on January 1, 2011, which requires that biofuels are produced from crops certified as sustainably farmed.
The directive aims to protect tropical rain forests being cut down for biofuel crop production. But German industry associations had feared the failure of other EU states to implement the rule on time would mean Germany would not have been able to import non-certified rapeseed and rapeseed oil from other EU states in 2011.
The German government now says it will allow a more flexible calculation of certified biofuel feedstocks for a temporary period up to June 30, 2011.
The government has accepted requests from the oilseeds industry that oil mills and traders should be permitted to create balance sheets of their sustainable supplies over a 12 month period instead of three months.
Germany imports about two million tonnes of rapeseed annually for food and biodiesel production.