British Meat Processors Association
British Meat Processors Association

Closure of last Co2 plant poses supply risk for meat industry

This week, CF Industries have indicated that they willl be ceasing production at the UK’s last remaining fertiliser plant in Billingham.

We knew back in June that the closure of CF Industries’ Cheshire plant would leave UK Co2 supplies vulnerable to anything going wrong with their remaining Billingham plant and that we would be heavily reliant on overseas suppliers to make up the shortfall. Since then, ammonia producers in Italy and Germany have cut production which sent European food and drink companies scrambling to secure tightening supplies of the gas at the end of July.

Nick Allen said of this latest announcement: “Whilst we are in a much better position now than we were a year ago, if CF Industries follows through on its threat to close Billingham the British meat industry will have serious concerns. Without sufficient Co2 supplies the UK will potentially face an animal welfare issue with a mounting number of pigs and poultry unable to be sent for processing.

“It’s for this reason that securing Co2 supplies is of key strategic importance and, following this latest development, we can’t see how Government can sit on the side lines and insist that it’s for companies to work it out amongst themselves. They are going to need to step in.”

As has been reported in the press over the last two days, Government have forcefully refused to repeat the help they offered last time, instead insisting that it’s for industry to resolve the issue.

But things have changed markedly since then and the options for sourcing Co2 elsewhere have massively diminished despite new players entering the market to take advantage of higher prices.

There is already a Government initiative called the Green Industrial Revolution which includes a commitment to deploy Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) in two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s. Phase two has been launched which calls for individual companies to come forward with proposals for projects. We’d encourage Government to fast track this process to secure Britain’s future Co2 supplies and reduce its reliance on rapidly dwindling supply from overseas.

About BMPA

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) is the leading trade association for the meat and meat products industry in the UK.

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