Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Roger Warnes (Transport) Ltd (O70)


  My business delivers approx 350,000 tonnes of sugar beet into three sugar factories in East Anglia and 2,000 tonnes of organic sugar beet into the sugar factory in Nottinghamshire. I have built up my haulage business around Sugar Beet haulage over the last 33 years delivering sugar beet Sept-March, I also deliver sugar beet co-products from this industry 12 months of the year. I now operate 33 lorries, seven cleaner/loader teams, and a fully staffed work shop, I am directly employing 30 people and supporting many more from the supply trade (tyres, fuel, parts etc) in my local rural area. I believe Option 1 is the only realistic option as this would result in a stable market, allowing efficient industries to survive in the long-term. Option 2 would mean very significant reductions in price and would have a very significant impact on my business, this will ultimately lead into Option 3. Option 3 would result in the UK sugar industry being uncompetitive and stopping production, consequently without sugar beet my business would no longer be viable. Sugar Beet haulage in East Anglia is essential for the efficient working of agricultural haulage in the region, it integrates very well with many other agricultural commodities keeping many haulage business's in this rural region viable.

  1.1  My business operates in the heart of rural Norfolk giving direct employment to many people and many more indirectly through mutual supply trades. I also employ a number of drivers on a part-time, many of these drivers are involved in agriculture and this additional income enables them to stay in agriculture.

  1.2  Sugar Beet haulage integrates very well with other bulk commodity haulage, this allows me to minimise empty return journeys and therefore non productive road miles.

  1.3  The food miles covered with sugar beet are minimal (average 30 miles) compared with many other bulk commodities and certainly far less than importing sugar from Brazil or Australia.

  1.4  I am also involved in the haulage of recycled co-products from the sugar industry which are environmentally friendly.

  1.5  The efficiency of the whole industry has increased dramatically over the last 30 years, on farm yields have doubled, the UK processor is the most efficient in the EU and with increased GVW and the operation of large haulage groups beet transport has also become a very efficient cost effective operation.

  1.6  Other factors that need to be considered are:

    1.6.1  The UK industry supports over 20,000 jobs, many in rural areas like East Anglia.

    1.6.2  The UK does not contribute to EU quota surplus.

    1.6.3  The UK is a major importer of sugar from lesser developed countries.

    1.6.4  Sugar Beet plays a vital role in crop rotation on many farms.

    1.6.5  Sugar Beet is a spring sown crop, giving many environmental benefits on farm.

1 April 2004

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