max temp: 7°C

min temp: 4°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East of England: British Sugar announced £100m investment programme in factories over next three years

16:00 22 February 2014

Speaker Adam Quinney, National Farmers Union vice president at last year

Speaker Adam Quinney, National Farmers Union vice president at last year's Norfolk Farming Conference


A £100million investment programme in British Sugar’s factories across eastern England over the next three years has been announced.


Colm McKay, director of agriculture, told about 250 delegates gathered for the Norfolk Farming Conference at the John Innes Conference Centre, of plans to invest an initial £50m plus further investment to prepare for the ending of Europe’s sugar quotas from 2017.

“We need top have confidence that we can cope with seasons when the beet quality is not ideal. “With this in mind, we’re investing close to £50m this season and anticipate similar investment levels in the coming three years,” he added.

The investments included an energy reduction project, control system replacement, and thick juice import and export capability at Cantley. Last December, a total of 270 tonnes of energy-saving equipment was transported by barge from Lille in northern France as part of the estimated £12m investment.

Mr McKay said that the Wissington factory, near Downham Market, which is the world’s largest beet processing refinery, will also benefit from the investment in a refurbished diffuser and increased filtration capacity. The projects at Bury St Edmunds, which was the second largest factory, include increased juice tank capacity while a new animal feed drier will be installed at Newark, Nottinghamshire.

“This shows that we’re serious about increasing factory input and our reliability,” he added.

British Sugar had invested significantly over the years with about £300m invested since 2005, said Mr McKay. It was worth remembering that the home-grown industry produced a record 1.3m tonnes of sugar in 2011.

He told delegates that the home-grown sugar industry had boosted crop productivity by more than 60pc since 1980 and that British Sugar’s factories had cut energy use by 25pc in the past quarter of a century. Mr McKay said that British Sugar’s costs of production was competitive with other beet producers and increasingly with top cane producers around the world.

However, he warned that the ending of Europe’s sugar quotas from October 1, 2017 was likely to see a further slide in prices. A combination of more competition from European producers and a further slide in the world price, which had already fallen from 36 cents per lb to the present 15 cents or about £220 tonne were likely to put beet prices under pressure. “I realise that this is a very stark message,” he added.

Mr McKay told growers that British Sugar “wanted to have an appropriate campaign length that maintained beet as an attractive crop to growers while also us to make efficient use of our assets.” Further, the continuing increase in average yields was a welcome trend.

Beet growers’ leader William Martin, who farms 1,000 acres at Littleport, near Ely, said that some aspects of Mr McKay’s paper had not exactly “been a bundle of laughs.”

It was also announced that two Norfolk beet growers, Andrew Ross, of Edgefield, an Tim Young, of Hockwold, had been elected to the National Farmers’ Union’s sugar board and Lincolnshire grower Nick Wells had been re-elected.

Anglia Farmers’ chief executive Clarke Willis reported that members of the agricultural buying group had given more than £20,000 to help transport fodder to the West Country. A remarkable £10,000 had been pledged in the first 48 hours, he said.



Essex public sector cuts

Public sector bodies in north Essex have had more than half a billion pounds cut from their budgets over the past five years.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A Framlingham company has been left with a bill of more than £10,000 after pig muck from a farm polluted a 10 kilometre stretch of river.

East Anglian Air Ambulance

A motorist who was seriously injured in a crash on the A134 on Tuesday evening has died.

Students from West Suffolk College slept rough outside the main entrance to the college.

Ten teenagers braved the cold, wet weather for a night to raise awareness of homelessness and gain first-hand experience of what it is like to sleep rough.

Pegasus replaces the Striking Eagle for 16 Air Assault Brigade

Pegasus has become the emblem of 16 Air Assault Brigade as part of changes to the Brigade's structure and command relationships.

The change was formally marked on November 25 at a sunrise parade  led by Senior Chaplain Reverend Alan Steele with some 2,000 troops and support staff at Merville Barracks in Colchester.

A sunrise parade held today at Merville Barracks, Colchester, marked the adoption of Pegasus as the 16 Air Assault Brigade emblem.

A14 delays

An abnormal load weighing in at 59 tonnes is currently on the A14 heading eastbound.

RAF Marham Tornado GR4 jets have taken part in bombing missions over Iraq.

Suffolk’s MPs are likely to provide a united front in support of the Government in any new debate on bombing Syria in the wake of the Paris atrocities.

Eden-Rose Coppice Trust join with the Woodland Trust to plant the millionth tree as part of its First World War Centenary Woods Project in Brickmakers wood, Ipswich 
Friends and supporters of Brickmakers wood join to plant the tree

A charity which restores neglected town centre woodlands to create beautiful havens for people with cancer and children with additional needs has made history by planting the millionth tree of a poignant commemoration project.

Pictured is Tim Yeo

Former Tory MP Tim Yeo has lost his libel action over a “cash-for-advocacy” claim which he said trashed his reputation.

Council tenants face fees rise.

A Government measure to support those in social housing has wiped £143million off the value of a Colchester Borough Council budget in one stroke, the authority says.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24