Sugar maker in Peterborough looks to new era and more jobs after Brexit

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A Peterborough-based sugar producer says it can taste a sweet future as the European Union axes limits on the amount the firm can produce.

British Sugar, which employs 200 people at its head office in Sugar Way, Woodston, is about to enter a new era following Brexit and the EU’s decision to abolish production quotas.

Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar.

Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar.

The company, which has factories in Lincolnshire and East Anglia and supplies 60 per cent of the UK’s demand for sugar, says it will create more jobs and seek new markets as it looks to raise its sugar production.

Managing director Paul Kenward said: “This is a great opportunity for us to grow the business.

“We believe it will grow and we will take on new staff.”

It will be a stark contrast to 2014/15 when excellent growing weather left the company with 400,000 tonnes more sugar beet than it was allowed to sell by the EU.

This is a great opportunity for us to grow the business.

Paul Kenward, managing director

It cost British Sugar millions of pounds to store the beet, retrieve it and process it in the following years.

Mr Kenward said: “The lifting of European Union sugar quotas in October this year and leaving the EU, offers exciting opportunities.

“We are one of Britain’s most globally competitive industries and we are ready to work with farmers, importers and government to design a UK sugar policy that allows our world-leading domestic sugar industry to continue to thrive.”

British Sugar partners 3,500 growers, employs 1,400 people and supports a further 9,500 skilled jobs across the UK.

Beet production under way for British Sugar.

Beet production under way for British Sugar.

Mr Kenward said: “Over the past 100 years we have built a world-class UK beet sugar industry, contributing to local economies and communities, and benefiting UK plc.

“Our investment of £250 million over the past five years has made our factories the most efficient in the world.

“Beet sugar yields in the UK have improved by more than 25 per cent in the last 10 years. Our focus on improving efficiency and reducing waste has led to a range of co-products.

“We generate enough electricity to power a city the size of Peterborough, we produce up to 70 million litres of Bioethanol annually and used our topsoil to landscape the Olympic Park.”

William Martin, chairman of NFU Sugar, said: “The dismantlement of the EU sugar regime and Brexit will present opportunities for arable farmers in the beet growing areas of the UK, but the real opportunities will come from beet growers and British Sugar working in partnership to maximize the returns from the market place in a new commercial environment.”