A deal has been brokered with the UK’s major supplier of carbon dioxide to keep production in place for the next three months.
The government has welcomed the agreement which ensures UK businesses have access to the gas which is used in a range of industries including meat slaughter and packing, brewing, baking, and the nuclear sector.
Another three-month deal
Rising gas prices forced US-owned CF Industries to halt production of carbon dioxide at its Billingham fertiliser plant in September, before a government bailout saw it resume.
The original deal ran out on 31 January, according to the Guardian, but the new industry-led deal will enable the plant, which produces 60% of the UK’s supply of the gas, to continue operating.
Farming UK reports industry concern still remains amid calls for a longer-term solution to build stronger resilience in the UK’s supply chains.
In the longer term, the government said it would like to see the market take measures to improve resilience, and that it is engaging in ways this could happen.
According to the Grocer, concerns about the “structural fragility” in the UK’s CO2 gas supply chain were highlighted by a report in 2019 commissioned by the Food & Drink Federation.
It said there was “ongoing work on the possibility of co-operative approaches, for example consortia who might invest in CO2 production”.
New sources of supply, such as anaerobic digestion plants, are also an option that the government is encouraging.
British Poultry Council CEO Richard Griffiths said that major processors are already investing significant sums in the technology.