The UK government has provided £12 million in funding to help launch a high-tech food manufacturing and distribution campus, SmartParc, in Derby.
SmartParc campus aims to provide a highly sustainable, low-cost production base for food manufacturers, as well as bring together the knowledge of food producers to help reduce food waste, lower carbon outputs and increase UK food security. Through its mission, SmartParc says it will embrace the latest scientific developments such as vertical farming.
The campus will be built on 140 acres of the former Celanese production site, near Spondon and will also include a central distribution facility. This will allow manufacturers to consolidate both raw materials and finished goods, improving efficiency and lowering food miles.
SmartParc will also host a shared energy plant which it said will reduce energy consumption by 30%.
With 4,500 jobs to be created from its operation, SmartParc forms part of a £300 million total investment to put Derby city and the UK at the heart of the future of sustainable food manufacturing globally and support the recovery of the city’s economy after the coronavirus crisis.
“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,” said Derby City council leader Chris Poulter.
In addition to the £12 million investment, which has been made through the Getting Building Fund, the government announced that it will provide an additional £6.85 million to establish a manufacturing research centre in the city. The centre will give local companies access to expertise to grow their operations in low-carbon and other advanced technologies.
SmartParc CEO Jackie Wild said: “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.”
Work on the campus 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.
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