The UK government’s planned 2% cap on crop-based biofuels could be “disastrous” for the country’s farmers and ethanol and feed producers, playing into the hands of foreign high-protein feed exporters, according to Vivergo Fuels.

According to the UK biofuel and feed company’s head of government affairs Richard Royal, the 2% cap on food crop-based biofuels included in the Department of Transport’s Renewable Transport Fuel’s Obligation – which went into consultation in November 2016 – could have “severe consequences on the market, Feednavigator.com wrote on 11 September.

“This would be disastrous for the UK’s bioethanol industry, risking closures and job losses in the northeast of England, as well as the loss of significant investment in science and innovation,” Royal told the news site.

“It would also close opportunities for British farmers, forcing them to export wheat at a lower cost and to source protein-rich feed (such as soya) from abroad at a time when there is great uncertainty about future international trade relationships,” he warned.

The proposed 2% cap on crop biofuels was significantly lower than the EU’s 7% level on the same fuel, which Royal considered a better option.

The UK government had been cutting support for first generation – or food crop-based – biofuels in favour of second generation fuels after the Royal Academy of Engineering recently published its Sustainability of Liquid Biofuels report, which recommended incentivising second generation fuels.

However, Royal would like to see first generation fuels supported as well due to the amount of time and money already invested in them.

“The industry already invests in research, development, science and innovation and works alongside many education institutions in this. A growing industry would inevitably invest more in this area, including into second generation biofuels,” Royal told Feednavigator.