Bid for fertiliser factory at the heart of British food supply collapses

An audacious bid backed by former Army chief Lord Dannatt to take over one of Britain’s last fertiliser plants has collapsed.

A group of UK investors has pulled out of a bid to secure the Ince plant from US giant CF Industries after a final offer for the facility was rejected by the company last week.

UK Nitrogen had hoped to take on the plant amid industry fears that its closure could pose a threat to national supplies of fertiliser and carbon dioxide.

The Ince plant, due to close next month, is one of only two fertiliser factories in Britain and is a key supplier of carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fertiliser production, to industry. Carbon dioxide has a range of uses including surgical operations and meat processing.

The consortium was trying to take over the plant before the company let go of skilled staff in August.

CF Industries has maintained it has not received any offers that could keep the Ince plant running over the long term.

The US company shuts the plant temporarily in September last year due to spiraling gas prices, and announced the plant’s permanent closure in June.

A number of lobby groups representing the agricultural industry have warned that Ince’s closure leaves Britain overly-reliant on CF Industries’ remaining fertiliser factory in Billingham, Teeside.

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