Memorandum submitted by HW Atkinson &
Sons Ltd (O27)
1. As an enthusiastic sugar beet grower
we are very concerned as to the direction our beet industry may
take in the future. The abandonment of the present quota system
and the wholesale opening up to world trade will clearly lead
to chaos. A loss of production control and collapse of prices
would mean producer lack of confidence and force UK growers to
stop growing sugar beet.
2. Our own situation: We grow 50-55H of
beet and also harvest beet for others. Therefore we have a large
investment in machinery, storage facilities and labour.
It is essential the transport allowance be maintained.
Crop rotation: Beet is a valuable break crop; it
is increases soil fertility and organic matter, and helps us to
grow top quality malt from spring barley.
Biodiversity: The beet crop itself provides a completely
different habitat to cereals. The late ploughing of harvested
beet land followed by the spring barley and then barley stubble
in the autumn contributes greatly to a more diverse and flourishing
bird, animal and insect population.
3. The UK's balance between supply and demand
should be recognised.
Any changes to the current system
should be gradual and well thought out.
Any reduction in price should lead
to compensation being paid to producers, as is the case with other
More encouragement and aid should
be given for the industry to develop biofuels.
26 March 2004