The Department for Transport appears to be backing out of its promise to increase its use of biofuels in transport to 5% by 2010.

A consultation has been launched about postponing the deadline to 2013/14.

Guy Gagen, the NFU’s chief combinable crops adviser, said the government’s Gallagher report had confused policy by causing concerns that biofuels would lead to increased food prices.

He said fear of using “agricultural biofuels”, such as sugar beet and wheat, has also led to policy confusion in Brussels.

“There is debate in the EU about using ‘second-generation biofuels’, such as those made from sewage and algae, which are seen to be less polluting. But nobody so far has managed to make money out of those ideas.

“We fear that, until government makes specific targets and sticks to them, the biofuel industry will never get off the ground”, he said. “Farmers won’t feel confident enough to plant crops unless we see a long-term investment.”