The NFU is urging the Government to introduce E10 fuel by 2020 to help the UK meet its net zero target.
E10 is regular unleaded petrol blended with 10 per cent bioethanol, which is fermented from feed wheat grown by UK farmers.
A co-product of protein-rich animal feed is also produced as the bioethanol is made, providing livestock farmers with an alternative to imported soy products.
This week, the NFU wrote to all Ministers involved in making policy decisions on renewable fuel, including Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, to push for the rapid introduction of E10.
The union’s combinable crops board chairman Tom Bradshaw said: “Establishing a secure market for British wheat would mean farmers are not as vulnerable to commodity price markets, reducing reliance on grain exports to the EU which, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, would be hit with significant tariffs.
“Introducing E10 can also help farming solve some of the challenges around climate change. By using the high protein by-product of E10 to replace imports of animal feed products such as soya, the livestock industry can reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions.
“The British bioethanol industry has a huge role to play in reaching the Government’s target of a net zero economy by 2050 and the rollout of E10 would be a simple, fast and effective way of contributing.”
Vivergo Fuels, which operated the Hull-based biofuels plant that shut last September, blamed its closure on the Government’s refusal to introduce E10.
While in operation, the company bought more than 1 million tonnes of feed wheat from 900 farms every year, mainly across East and North Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.
Its plant was also the country’s largest single production site for animal feed, delivering 500,000 tonnes of high-protein feed to over 800 farms all over the UK.