Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Dawson Bros (O36)

    —  We in our company have invested over £400,000 in specialist sugar beet equipment. We purchased one of the first nine row beet harvesters to come into the UK two years ago. We also purchased a very large CTM beet cleaner with picking off table three years ago. We have just designed and constructed a three axle-tipping trailer to work with the harvester minimising ground compact in the field.

    —  Sugar beet is our main work in the winter months as we also haul sugar beet to Newark and Wissington factories. This finds work for five out of our eight lorries and our complete sugar beet operation employs nine people.

    —  It would be impossible to replace this work, as in this part of the country, sugar beet is a main break crop for many farmers.

    —  The economy of the district would be devastated and being a very rural area the majority of industries are connected to farming. This means that there is no scope to switch our vehicles to other work.

    —  The UK's beet industry is one of the most competitive in the EU. Sugar beet productivity is consistently amongst the highest in Europe. Sugar beet growing contributes to sustainable development and biodiversity and is one of the most valuable break crops in Britain.

    —  I support Option 1 reform of the European sugar sector providing this is balanced and leads to a stable market, which enables efficient industries to operate and invest sustainably for the future.

29 March 2004

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