Government not backing “great example” of UK manufacturing as Vivergo Fuels announces closure plans

  • One of the UK’s largest renewable energy companies proposes to cease production
  • Over 130 highly skilled jobs at risk
  • Vivergo’s Hull plant also supports over 3,000 jobs directly and indirectly, contributing £600m to the UK economy
  • REA reiterates call for the introduction of E10 to meet UK renewable energy targets and support British manufacturing base

The Renewable Energy Association has called on the Government to introduce E10 at the earliest possible opportunity as news emerges of Vivergo Fuels’ plans to close its bioethanol plant in Hull.

The Government wants to see the introduction of greener petrol with twice the renewable ethanol content – known as E10 – and is currently running a consultation on the subject. E10 will deliver emissions savings equivalent to taking 700,000 cars off the road as well as bringing many other benefits.

However, the government has merely a call for evidence on introduction of E10, whereas the main proposal in the consultation document is a requirement on larger filling stations to ensure regular E5 petrol continues to remain available. The document acknowledges this requirement would have the consequence of delaying the introduction of E10.

When making their announcement Vivergo Fuels Managing Director, Mark Chesworth stated “Government’s lack of pace over the past decade to introduce E10 has further undermined our ability to operate” and contributed to the decision to close a plant capable of producing up to 420m litres a year of bioethanol.

Gaynor Hartnell, Head of Renewable Fuels at the REA, commented:

“Introducing E10 should be a Government priority. Whilst the Government wants to see fuel retailers introduce this fuel, it has pulled back from a simple mandate requiring them to do so. E10 is the standard reference fuel for today’s petrol cars, and is widely available across Europe as well as the USA, Australia and many other parts of the world.

“Vivergo is a part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse project and a great example of highly-skilled British manufacturing. At a time when the UK is facing substantial external energy risks Government should be doing all it can to ensure a market for domestically-produced, environmentally sustainable fuels.

“A simple mandate is favoured by most of the relevant stakeholders, including the NFU and ourselves, and had the current Government consultation proposed this, perhaps Vivergo would not be making this announcement.” 


To request an interview, please contact:

Gaynor Hartnell
Head of Renewable Transport Fuels
+44 (0)7870 629 575
[email protected]

Notes to editors

1. Vivergo’s announcement can be found here:
2. The Department for Transport’s consultation “E10 petrol, consumer protection and fuel pump labelling” was published 20 July 2018:
3. The consultation proposes introducing a protection grade, which will require larger fuel retailers to continue to sell regular E5 petrol, despite the fact that it acknowledges that this is likely to slow the introduction of E10. Paragraph 24 page 10 states “An implication of this proposal is that a complete market switch to E10 as the only 95 octane fuel, such as seen in Belgium in 2017, would not be an option in the short term”.

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