Pub­lic get chance to view meat plant plans

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - FARMING -

Farm­ers and mem­bers of the pub­lic were given a first glimpse of plans for a new mul­ti­mil­lion-pound abat­toir for the north-east yes­ter­day.

Scot­beef In­verurie, which cur­rently runs a multi-species abat­toir in the cen­tre of In­verurie, has pub­lished pro­pos­als for a long-awaited new abat­toir.

The com­pany, which is jointly owned by Scot­beef, which has a 75% share, and ANM Group which owns the re­main­der, has long spo­ken about re­lo­cat­ing its abat­toir to the Thain­stone Business Park, near In­verurie.

The plans have moved for­ward since ANM Group gained plan­ning con­sent for its Thain­stone Business Park ex­ten­sion, and Scot­beef In­verurie’s in­ten­tion is to seek plan­ning per­mis­sion to build its new abat­toir there.

For­mer Qual­ity Meat Scot­land chief ex­ec­u­tive Uel Mor­ton has been re­cruited to over­see the de- vel­op­ment of the new meat plant.

He said a pub­lic ex­hi­bi­tion held at the Thain­stone Cen­tre yes­ter­day had been an in­for­ma­tion gath­er­ing ex­er­cise to garner views on the pro­pos­als from in­ter­ested par­ties.

Ar­chi­tect David Nimmo, of Nimmo Ar­chi­tects, said all views would be con­sid­ered be­fore a for­mal plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the plant is sub­mit­ted to Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil for con­sid­er­a­tion.

He said the to­tal cost of the plant was not yet known, but said it would re­quire “sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment” by the com­pany.

It is hoped once plan­ning con­sent has been ob­tained and ser­vices have been put in place at the site, con­struc­tion will be­gin in April 2018. The com­pany hopes to have the plant com­pleted and up and run­ning by April 2019.

Mr Mor­ton said the new plant would solely process cat­tle, un­like the cur­rent plant which kills sheep, cat­tle and pigs.

In fu­ture, pigs will no longer be killed at Scot­beef In­verurie and sheep which are cur­rently killed at the site will be sent to Scot­beef ’s two other sheep pro­cess­ing sites at Bridge of Al­lan and An­nan in Dum­friesshire.

Mr Mor­ton said the new plant would also in­clude in­creased re­tail pack­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

He said it would safe­guard the ex­ist­ing 110 jobs at the cur­rent abat­toir, and there was po­ten­tial to cre­ate 30 new jobs in fu­ture.

Aberdeen­shire cat­tle farmer Char­lie Adam, who is also chair­man of NFU Scot­land’s live­stock com­mit­tee, at­tended the ex­hi­bi­tion.

He said: “We wel­come plans for an up-to-date fa­cil­ity, fit for the 21st cen­tury and be­yond.” NFU Scot­land has an­nounced plans to host a one-day con­fer­ence for women work­ing in agri­cul­ture across Ar­gyll and the is­lands.

The event, which is free to at­tend, takes place on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 4, at the Lochgilp­head Com­mu­nity Cen­tre from 10am.

The guest speaker is award-win­ning Suther­land sheep farmer Joyce Campbell, who is joint chair­woman of the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s Women in Agri­cul­ture Task Force. Speak­ing ahead of next week’s event, Ms Campbell said: “I’m re­ally look- ing for­ward to hear­ing from grass-root mem­bers what their thoughts and ideas are for the Women in Agri­cul­ture Task Force.

“I want to know what chal­lenges they all face, and what they feel needs to hap­pen to make our Scot­tish agri­cul­tural in­dus­try more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of ev­ery­one who’s in­volved in it.”

The con­fer­ence will be chaired by vice-chair­woman of NFU Scot­land’s new gen­er­a­tion group, Sarah Al­li­son, who cur­rently sits on the newly cre­ated Na­tional Coun­cil of Ru­ral Ad­vis­ers.

Ms Al­li­son said: “I am de­lighted to be in­volved in this event, and hope that we can en­cour­age more women to get in­volved in shap­ing the in­dus­try that we work and live in.”

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