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Time bomb ticking for reclaimed fuel

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AGGREGATE producers have taken their fight to have recovered fuel oils reclassified by environmental bodies to the Scottish parliament.

They have lobbied environment minister Ross Finnie over a move to classify used engine oil as a waste product.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, alongside the Environment Agency in England and Wales, has ruled that recovered fuel oil used by asphalt plant operators is a waste under a European Directive.

Industry body the British Aggregates Association argued that this is a misinterpretation of the European Waste Incineration Directive. It will force operators stop using the fuel, leaving a sea of waste oil.

Some 400,000 tonnes of used engine oil is collected throughout the UK each year.

This is filtered and treated to produce an alternative to virgin gas oil, reducing the impact on natural resources and providing a market for used oil that will not be available if the rules are enforced, the BAA said.

It called the move a ticking environmental time bomb and claimed that other European Union countries do not regard the fuel as a waste product.

BAA executive officer Richard Bird said:

'We have passed information on to the Scottish Executive and hope that finally they will see reason and change their mind on the interpretation of recycled fuel oils before a major pollution incident hits.'