Controlled environment agriculture in North and West Yorkshire
Companies in North and West Yorkshire are at the heart of the next agricultural revolution, using controlled environment agriculture (CEA) techniques for food production.
An opportunity exists to invest alongside a group of growing Agri-tech companies in North and West Yorkshire to develop innovative farming techniques that will transform food security and the circular economy.
North and West Yorkshire
Foreign direct investment
Sector and market opportunity
There is huge market potential for investors in Controlled Environment Agricultures in North & West Yorkshire. Overall the UK is only 61% self-sufficient in food, importing £14 bn worth of fresh food every year. The fruit and vegetable wholesale market, for example, is worth £10.2 bn with imports making up over 80% in fruit and over 50% in vegetables, giving a clear market opportunity for locally grown produce by using controlled environment agriculture.
Controlled Environment Agriculture aims to create the optimum growing conditions, allowing year-round cropping of a wide range of high value, fresh produce closer to the point of consumption. Such techniques include vertical farming, aquaponics, aeroponics and hydroponics. Other opportunities also lie in insect rearing for protein usage potentially reducing the environmental impact of other proteins in animal feed and in the bio economy.
The area has a growing Agri-tech industry and that has encouraged the largest concentration of projects, start-ups and technology companies in Europe. By locating in North & West Yorkshire, your business will be able to exploit an array of agri-food assets, capabilities and most importantly a growing and sustained market for your products. There is strong market demand, owing to the UK’s high population density, high GDP per capita and a significant segment of consumers who will pay a premium for added-value fresh foods.
Investors here can collaborate with more than 700 food production companies, 13,000 farms and 25,000 workers.
The region provides direct access to locations worldwide through Leeds Bradford Airport.
The area is also well connected through the local and national road network (M1, A1(M) and M62), major ports such as Hull and Grimsby, plus excellent rail links across the Pennines and to London.
Access to both the Humber & Tees Valley Freeports is available to investors, which is a hub for global trade and investment, with tax incentives and customs support.
Local talent and skills
North and West Yorkshire features: • 5 world-class universities with highly trained graduates • 7 dedicated research organisations devoted to agriculture • 25,000 employees in agriculture in North and West Yorkshire
Research and expertise
The region has an abundance of accomplished research facilities, including the:
- Crop Health and Protection (CHAP) Agri-tech Innovation Centre (funded by Innovate UK)
- Global Food and Environment Institute (GFEI)
- National Pig Centre
- Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC)
- York BioTech Campus
North of England
The North of England is recognised as a global centre for creativity and design and attracts thriving international investment. This heritage of expertise and manufacturing know-how is well established on the world stage, and historically gave birth to the Industrial Revolution.
Enabling clean growth
The demand for CEA is driven by the UK’s clean growth strategy and a government commitment for net zero carbon agriculture by 2050.
Agri-tech innovation, alongside controlled environment techniques, will play a key role in lowering carbon emissions by reducing ‘food miles’ and contributing to the circular economy.
Local and national government support
The agricultural transition period started in January 2021. Between 2021 and 2027, the UK government will gradually reduce and then stop untargeted Direct Payments, using the money to support agriculture in different ways.
The government will pay farmers to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions.
Three levels of support will pay for sustainable farming practices, creating habitats for nature recovery and making landscape-scale change such as establishing new woodland and other ecosystem services.
For 25 years Fera Science has operated out of the Sand Hutton estate in Yorkshire and now shares the site with other bio and life science businesses on the York Biotech Campus.
Fera pioneers new diagnostic approaches and analytical science, driving ingenious products and techniques. Research collaboration with industry and other partner centres of excellence leverages its expertise in biology, biotechnology, chemistry, ecology, social and data science.
P3P Food Technology Park
P3P develops, operates and maintain its own and third-party sites in UK energy, waste and vertical farming sectors. These provide design and build expertise with 100% financing of construction costs.
The company developed a site in Selby to expand its glasshouse and energy supply portfolio, while also providing a springboard for its vertical farming and other Agri-tech plans.
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