High-tech food manufacturing campus to be launched in UK
The campus will combine food production facilities with shared utilities, amenities and services, and aims to act as a global hub for innovative, sustainable food manufacturing.
The British Government has agreed to provide £12 million in funding to help launch a high-tech food manufacturing campus in Derby, which will reportedly create up to 4,500 jobs.
The Government will also provide an additional £6.85 million to establish a manufacturing research centre in the city, generating 70 new roles and helping local companies to access expertise to grow their operations in low-carbon and other advanced technologies in the sector.
Both initiatives form part of a recovery strategy to help reboot Derby’s economy after the coronavirus crisis. It is built on three key pillars – maintaining confidence, diversification and decarbonisation – and was described as “inspiring” by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick.
Central to the announcement is money to help secure a new £300 million high-tech food manufacturing and distribution campus in the city, to be developed and operated by SmartParc on 140 acres of land. The company’s approach aims to bring food producers together to cluster knowledge and investment – reducing food waste, lowering carbon outputs and increasing UK food security.
The campus would include a shared energy plant – designed to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent – and harness the latest technology to improve production and efficiency, lowering costs by 20 percent.
There will also be central distribution facility to allow manufacturers to consolidate both raw materials and finished goods, which aims to improve efficiency and lower food miles.
Work will start in the first quarter of 2021 and a planned opening, with initial occupancy, will take place later that year. Full project realisation is expected by 2024.
“SmartParc is part of a £300 million investment to put Derby city and the UK at the heart of the future of sustainable food manufacturing globally,” said SmartParc Chief Executive, Jackie Wild.
“The planned SmartParc campus will combine world-class food production facilities with shared utilities, amenities and services to provide a highly sustainable, low-cost production base for food manufacturers and new ways to reach end customers while reducing food miles and food waste.
“It will also act as a community hub, with a new food innovation centre and skills facility and planned partnerships with local charities, schools and universities to reconnect people with the food they eat.
“We are delighted to receive Government backing for our ambition and look forward to working with Derby City Council, local universities, businesses and communities to share our vision and deliver up to 4,500 new jobs in the area over the coming years,” she said.
Derby City Council Leader, Chris Poulter, said the Government’s funding commitment was a huge vote of confidence in the city’s economic recovery strategy. “Throughout the past four months we have been doing all we can to support existing businesses but also looking at opportunities for the future – to diversify our economy, to improve our environmental credentials and to make Derby a brilliant place to live and work,” he said.
“Today’s announcement is a massive boost for those plans, and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver these fantastic new projects.”