Kwarteng agrees CO2 deal to safeguard food supplies
Food supplies require CO2 to stay fresh
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has reached agreement with a chemicals company to resume CO2 production to safeguard food supplies.
The exceptional short term arrangement with CF Fertilisers will allow the company to immediately restart operations at its plant in Billingham on Teesside.
The Government will provide limited financial support for CF Fertilisers’ operating costs for three weeks whilst the CO2 market adapts to global gas prices.
CF Fertilisers produces around 60% of the UK’s CO2, used primarily by the food sector to keep products fresh.
The Government has held discussions with the main food producers, their trade bodies and the major supermarkets and they are committed to doing whatever it takes to move to a sustainable market-based solution by the end of the three-week period.
Mr Kwarteng said: “This agreement will ensure the many critical industries that rely on a stable supply of CO2 have the resources they require to avoid disruption.
“The quick and decisive action we have taken to resolve the issue shows the seriousness with which we have approached it.
“In our ongoing response to manage the impact of global gas price rises, we will continue to protect businesses and consumers.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We have acted decisively to ensure that CO2 supplies, which are critical to some of our food sectors, continue to be available following some exceptional events. However this is a short term intervention to provide the space and time for market adjustment.”
The measures follow engagement with critical industries to understand the pressures they could face as the result of a restricted supply of CO2, including from the Business Secretary and the Environment Secretary.
The government said the UK benefits from having a diverse range of gas supply sources, with sufficient capacity to more than meet demand.
“The UK’s gas system continues to operate reliably and we do not anticipate any increased risk of supply emergencies this winter,” it said.