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Jane Brindle, Technical Advisor at Leo Group and first female chair of the Foodchain & Biomass Renewable Association (FABRA UK) since November last year, looks back on a busy year of changes:
The Annual General Meeting in November marked the end of my first year as Chairman. It has been a very busy time, where did that year go? Looking back, it has been dominated by preparations for changes to Border Controls (and just when everyone is almost ready, they get postponed – start again!) and for the review of Best Available Techniques (BAT) for our industry.
At times this role can be challenging – trying to get people to agree on a solution that suits everyone – or it can be painfully slow as you keep chasing Government Departments for updates. I will never get used to the ‘slower speed’ of Government compared to industry when it comes to implementing change!
There has been an avalanche of Government Consultations on energy saving and carbon taxes this year, although it’s not all hard work and ploughing through hefty documents. I was able to travel to Brussels to meet with the European equivalent of our trade association (EFPRA) and discuss issues affecting renderers throughout Europe.
One of the areas I was keen to work on when I took on the role was to raise the profile of the rendering industry with Regulators and Government Departments. In October FABRA presented to a group from the Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Local Government (covering the whole of the UK) to explain what happens at our sites and what we do with the finished products. This gave us an opportunity to shout about all the benefits of processing animal byproducts and is being followed up with site visits over the coming months.
Now looking forward to the next year. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will be working on amendments to the Animal Byproducts Regulations so that we can keep up to date with the rest of Europe, the BAT review will pick up speed and carbon taxes will no doubt get larger with more consultation documents to go through and data to collect… One thing is certain, it will be another very busy and exciting year.