Funding approved for Isle of Man Meats factory

A £1.6 million investment package for Isle of Man Meats’ ailing factory has been approved by the parliament of the Isle of Man, Tynwald.

A £1.6 million investment package for Isle of Man Meats’ ailing factory has been approved by the parliament of the Isle of Man, Tynwald.

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) for the Isle of Man, which works closely with the meat firm, received approval for the expenditure, which will be used to refurbish the plant in Tromode.

The total cost of the refurbishment will come to just over £2m, with an additional £400,000 coming from the DEFA-administered ‘Agricultural Development Fund’ and £200,000 from Isle of Man Meats.

The existing plant is 18 years old and there was a large amount of equipment that had come to the end of its lifespan. The boilers required urgent attention, and the gas used in the current refrigeration units will become illegal after 2014, so needs to be replaced.  

The plant’s landlord – the Department of Infrastructure – has also identified other areas for improvement in accordance with current animal welfare standards and health and safety obligations.

Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for DEFA, said: “The importance of this facility to the Isle of Man cannot be overstated. It is essential that we have a plant to meet the demands of the Manx food industry and to ensure food security and the existence of a self-reliant food chain. Economically, the plant provides an important route-to-market for local farmers; without it, the only alternative is live export.”

Graham Crowe, chairman of Isle of Man Meats said that although the company had undergone significant changes in recent years, becoming increasingly customer-focused, he said the refurbishment was essential to the continued operation of the business.

“To have been in a position where the island could not process its own meat animals and be self-reliant, would be unthinkable,” he said.

Brian Brumby, president, Manx National Farmers’ Union, added: “This refurbishment comes at a time when large investment is occurring at our competitors’ plants in the UK. The ability for the island to be able to process its own meat is likely to become more important in terms of food security.”

A new 15-year lease was also agreed for the plant last month, which currently delivers returns to the Treasury of more than £400,000 a year.

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