ABP poised to start on £20M factory

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Somerfield

ABP remains Sainsbury's primary beef supplier
ABP remains Sainsbury's primary beef supplier
Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) is set to kick off reconstruction of its £20M abattoir in Ellesmere, Shropshire, more than doubling its size, local council planners have confirmed.

After lengthy planning negotiations, ambitions to level the firm’s old facility there and rebuild it according to more stringent requirements with updated equipment seem close to realisation.

A spokeswoman for Shropshire Council’s planning team said challenges and modifications to the original proposals had now all been dealt with and the project was awaiting final legal ratification. She told FoodManufacture.co.uk it was “highly unlikely”​ work would not now be able to go ahead.

Local press reports suggest preparations for the rebuild, which include dismantling the old plant, are already underway. The total rebuild programme is expected to take just over a year. ABP has moved to reassure customers that no disruption to supply will occur during this period.

Latest environmental criteria

The site, which currently employs 700 workers, has been redesigned to conform to the latest environmental criteria, with features such as energy efficient lighting and sustainable drainage.

“The new facility will utilise modern materials and equipment to provide an energy-efficient and sustainable facility,”​ the original planning application, submitted in 2010​, stated.

“In order to meet the ever increasing standards required by governing bodies, standards agencies and customers it has become necessary to review the animal lairage and abattoir standards at the Ellesmere site.

“Both elements are in danger of being considered sub-standard and hence the real need for the proposed redevelopment. The redevelopment is vital for the long term future of operations on the site.”

The abattoir and beef processing plant, which supplies major European food retailers and includes packing and frozen food storage, will increase in size from 1,875m2​ to 4,525m2​.

Animal welfare

Improved staff facilities will also be incorporated and the site will be designed to conform to the latest animal welfare specifications.

Preparations have begun amid reports ABP had lost its sole supplier status with Sainsbury in the wake of its implication earlier this year in the horsemeat scandal. Sainsbury is believed to have handed 30% of its beef supply to Northern-Ireland-based Dunbia.

Burger meat contaminated with horse DNA and supplied to Tesco, Burger King and the Co-operative Group was traced to ABP’s Silvercrest facility, which the firm sold in April​.

In a statement, while it said it had secured a further six-year contract with Sainsbury, beginning from spring 2014, it described itself no longer as sole supplier, but “primary beef supplier”.

“ABP will continue to work closely with Sainsbury to help them deliver their exciting 20 x 20 vision, a cornerstone of which is to increase the sale of British products.”

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