Gov to step in to help solve CO2 crisis

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

Industry impact: rising gas prices has meant factories that produce CO2 as a by product closed (image: Getty/Edin)
Industry impact: rising gas prices has meant factories that produce CO2 as a by product closed (image: Getty/Edin)

Related tags: Beer, Food, British beer & pub association, Gas

The Government has announced a temporary agreement with American-owned firm CF Fertilisers in a bid to help ensure a continued supply of CO2 to UK businesses.

It was previously predicted UK pubs could be facing a CO2 shortage worse than the 2018 crisis​ after two UK fertiliser plants, which produce CO2 as a by-product, closed due to rising gas prices.

While trade body the British Beer & Pub Association issued reassurances there would not be a beer drought, the Society of Independent Brewers outlined how the shortage wouldn’t impact cask beer immediately but could be a worry for keg, bottled and canned beer.

Furthermore, the British Meat Processors Association warned pork and poultry products could be affected.

Group discussions

However, the agreement with CF Fertilisers, which produces about two fifths (60%) of the UK’s CO2, used primarily by the food sector, will mean limited financial support for the fertiliser firm’s operating costs for three weeks while the market adapts to global gas prices.

The short-term agreement will allow the company to immediately restart operations and produce CO2 at its plant in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees.

The Government stated the measure shows the seriousness it has approached the issue to protect consumers and businesses.

It added it had “held discussions with the main food producers, their trade bodies and 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”.

Avoid disruption

Business secretary Kwasi 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.”

However, the step is a short-term intervention to provide space and time for market adjustment, according to environment secretary George Eustice.

He said: “We have acted decisively to ensure CO2 supplies, which are critical to some of our food sectors, continue to be available following some exceptional events.”

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