Proposals for new sugar plant in North Yorkshire

Many Yorkshire growers have turned away from sugar beet since the closure of British Sugar's factory in York.
Many Yorkshire growers have turned away from sugar beet since the closure of British Sugar's factory in York.

Early planning documents have been submitted for the construction of a huge new “state-of-the-art” sugar beet processing plant in North Yorkshire.

A decade since British Sugar, the UK’s only sugar beet processor, closed its refinery in York, proposals have emerged for a plant to be built by Al Khaleej International Ltd next to Allerton Waste Recovery Park, near the A1 between York and Harrogate.

The Grade I listed Allerton Castle lies approximately 2.5km south of the site.

Environmental impact assessment documents submitted to Harrogate Borough Council this week outline plans for a plant with associated ancillary buildings, four storage silo containers of 80 metres high by 60 metres wide, car parking and landscaping on land adjacent to Thornbar Farm in Marton Cum Grafton.

The applicant is seeking a ‘scoping opinion’ from the council before submitting a full planning application for the 65-hectare site on what is predominantly former agricultural land.

In the documents submitted to the council, the applicant states: “The proposed development will regenerate the site and provide employment at the plant for between 200 and 300 people and involve a supply chain of circa 3,500 British farmers in the sourcing of sugar beet from a large area of predominantly North East England.”

It adds: “The plant would process between 24,000 to 36,000 tonnes of sugar beet during the harvest season (September to March) per day, with 24 hour a day warehouse and packaging operations.”

Some 5,000 to 6,000 tonnes of refined sugar would be produced at the plant every day.

Al Khaleej International, a Cayman Islands-based subsidiary of Al Khaleej Sugar of Dubai, wish to begin construction of the plant early next year ahead of its operation by September 2020. The construction work itself is expected to create hundreds more jobs.

Al Khaleej Sugar supplies around 1.5 million tones of fine and course sugar worldwide.

Around half of all refined sugar sold in the UK is produced by British Sugar. Since closing its York plant, the nearest factory for Yorkshire beet growers is in Newark, Nottinghamshire.