Start your engines! E10 petrol is on its way

A hand on a retrol filling nozzel at a filling station

E10 will result in a reduction in emissions equivalent to taking 450,000 cars off the road. NFU Crops Adviser Chloe Lockhart looks at what the green light for E10 fuel means for UK agriculture and how the NFU played an important part in lobbying for it.

The roll-out of E10 petrol later this year will mark the culmination of a decade-long NFU campaign across government departments. This is a fantastic result for British agriculture.

We have consistently highlighted the benefits of a domestic market for surplus feed wheat, especially when prices are otherwise depressed through oversupply caused by a reducing exportable surplus.

With AB Sugar announcing the reopening of its Vivergo plant near Hull, joining the Ensus operation on Teesside, there is a potential demand for feed wheat of approximately 2.1 million tonnes. And roughly half of that will come back as a co-product of high-protein distillers’ dried grains with solubles (DDGS) for use in animal feed rations. These DDGS are the only source of such a high-protein British product.

A ten-year drive

Over the years, the NFU has been an active part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Bioethanol, and our North East Crops Board Chair, Brett Askew, has been a long-term champion for E10.

He, and Paul Tompkins from the NFU National Dairy Board, provided verbal evidence in the House of Commons back in 2019. They were part of an NFU lobbying effort that targeted Defra, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Trade and the Department of Transport.

The push included numerous consultations and letters to officials and ministers, media appearances and making E10 fuel a pillar of the NFU’s wider business and environmental campaigning. Some of you may also remember the ‘email your MP’ tool, which saw more than 100 MPs hear from farmers, and we thank you for all of your support.

As well as farming, the decision represents a boost for the UK biofuel industry and for jobs in a sector which has seen intermittent plant closures, as the promise of E10 appeared close to fruition and then waned. Having worked closely with Ensus and Vivergo we are overjoyed that they will be open and up to full capacity by the end of the year.