Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been told that plans for a pioneering £1.5bn fuel plant on Teesside could be at risk in a row over Government support.

Aviation coalition group Rise says there is widespread support for the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel that is expected to bring more than 1,100 new jobs to Teesside, but the Government has to act faster to back it.

Teesside is one of five areas in the UK earmarked for SAF facilities as part of the Government’s SAF Delivery Plan.

The £1.5bn Lighthouse Green Fuels project - planned for the former Air Products site at Port Clarence -  is being developed by Saudi conglomerate Alfanar and will create the world’s largest waste to fuel facility.

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Noaman Aladhami, Country Head of Alfanar in the UK, said: “We are committed to a £1.5 billion investment in Teesside to convert waste to SAF but we cannot begin construction without a revenue certainty mechanism in place. We are all set to go in mid-2025 but the Government’s delivery plan suggests legislation won’t be in place until the end of 2026. That is a year and a half delay on our project at a minim Sunalk and the |Alfanar siteum.

"A delay to the creation of new high-quality jobs, a delay to delivering an economic boost for Teesside and a delay to the decarbonisation of aviation. We cannot afford for this to happen.”

Rise has now sent a strongly-worded published a letter to Downing Street which urges the Government to speed up its delivery plan for SAF or put new jobs and growth at risk.

In its letter Rise warns Britain risks falling behind in the ‘global dash’ for SAF because legislation will not fully come into force until at least the end of 2026.

The group tells PM Rishi Sunak: "The Budget represented yet another missed opportunity by this Government to accelerate a homegrown SAF industry that will unlock thousands of jobs, add billions to the economy and guarantee sustainable growth in aviation.

The Northern Echo: How the Alfanar site could look at Port ClarenceHow the Alfanar site could look at Port Clarence

"So while we welcome the Government’s commitment to developing a domestic industry, we fear the current timetable for its delivery is far too slow and Britain risks missing out on all the benefits British SAF would bring.

The letter states that countries across Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and the United States are forging ahead and warns that investors take their support to other countries Britain would be forced to import the nine million tonnes of SAF that will be needed, at an annual cost of £3bn a year.

It states: “The clock is ticking, and Rise is calling on the Government to speed up its SAF Delivery Plan and meet its own target, set out in the Jet Zero Strategy, of having five SAF plants under construction by next year.

“We cannot reach net zero without SAF and we cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities domestic SAF production brings to Britain.”

While SAF normally produces a 70% lifecycle reduction in carbon emissions, fuel produced at Teesside will be the country’s first negative emissions project – delivering 200% savings because of its access to Teesside’s Carbon Capture and Storage infrastructure.