NFU pens letters to ministers to call for biofuel introduction

Members of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) have penned a series of letters to Government ministers to call for the introduction of a type of biofuel that contains renewable material.

The union is calling for E10 – petrol with a 10% renewable bioethanol content – to be introduced by 2020 to “help the UK reach its net zero targets”.

Currently, E5 fuel is commonplace; however, this contains only 5% bioethanol.

The NFU letters outlined the “economic and environmental benefits” of a biofuel industry to all ministers involved in policy decisions on issues of renewable fuel.

These ministers include: Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; and Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport.

“This is about producing food and renewable fuel in harmony with each other. Establishing a secure market for British wheat would mean farmers are not as vulnerable to volatile commodity markets, reducing reliance on grain exports to the EU which, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, would be hit with significant tariffs,” argued Tom Bradshaw, the NFU’s combinable crops chairperson.

He continued: “British wheat growers are in a great position to supply wheat for both public consumption and the UK biofuel industry, but the lack of supportive policy is hindering their ability to deliver for the environment.

One of the UK’s plants which converts wheat into bioethanol has closed due to lack of demand and the other is barely open – plants which at full capacity could produce 890 million litres of renewable fuel, support 6,000 jobs and contribute £1 billion to the national economy.

Bradshaw also highlighted that E10 could also help the livestock industry reduce it emissions, by using the high-protein by-product of the fuel in animal feed products, rather than importing feed.

“Over 95% of cars on the road are warranted to run on E10 and, if it were introduced, it would be equivalent to taking 700,000 cars off the road. Without it, cars are actually running inefficiently,” he claimed.

Bradshaw concluded: “British growers have the means to deliver more renewable fuel for the nation – we now need to see ministers taking legislative action to allow them to do so.”