British Sugar has today confirmed that work has now begun on the UK’s first bioethanol production facility at Wissington, near Downham Market, Norfolk.
Following extensive planning, the project recently received two major boosts. Firstly the Government announced the introduction of a renewable transport fuels obligation (RTFO), for which the company had been pressing for some time. This was quickly followed by the granting of planning authority for the plant by King’s Lynn Borough Council.
These two decisions were important milestones in the project. The final element, which has allowed the project to proceed, was agreement last week between British Sugar and the National Farmers’ Union on the contractual arrangements for the supply of the sugar beet needed to supply this plant.
This plant is designed to utilise sugar beet which would previously have been used to produce non-quota or ‘C’ sugar for export onto the world market. Under a recent World Trade Organisation ruling, such exports are no longer permitted, giving rise to concerns amongst growers about the viability of continuing to produce this additional sugar beet.
Commenting on the project, British Sugar CEO, Mark Carr said, “We are delighted to get this project underway. The team have been presented with numerous challenges along the way, political and economic, and they have successfully met them all.
Site preparation work has already begun and I expect to have this plant in production early in 2007 – and that is a further challenge to the project team! This is the UK’s first bioethanol production facility; the beginning of an exciting new industry, and is a clear demonstration of our innovative approach to the changing business environment in which we operate.”
The plant is designed to produce 70 million litres of bioethanol each year, utilising all of the UK’s previously exported beet sugar.
John Smith, Communications Manager
t: +44 (0) 1733 422903
(Cf. news of Oct. 12, 2004.)
Source: British Sugar Pressrelease Dec. 19, 2005.