Family firm really does live off fat of the land

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A family business in Yorkshire business is doing its bit to combat climate change by turning waste cooking and food oils into biofuels.

Brocklesby, which is based in North Cave, in East Yorkshire, stops tens of thousands of tonnes of food waste from being dumped in landfill.

The company, which has a £45m turnover, is developing an anaerobic digestion plant, which generates renewable heat and energy.

The company’s owner, Robert Brocklesby, plans to hire more staff and buy more space to help the firm grow.

The company specialises in recycling used cooking oils and fatty acids, either by collecting them, or by installing processing facilities at companies to extract oils and fats from the waste produced by food manufacturers.

Brocklesby processes used cooking oil into ‘refined’ oil which is then used as a prime feedstock for the UK’s biodiesel industry.

Brocklesby has strong links with a large number of food manufacturers in the UK and Ireland.

It provides a supply chain management service for their waste vegetable oil streams.

The company also works with major UK retailers and has processed their used cooking oil into products, which are mainly used in the biofuels industry.

Demand is so high that the company’s seven acre site is working at full capacity and around the clock.

Mr Brocklesby said yesterday: “The company was founded in 1997 by my father Paul Brocklesby – it had been part of a wider spectrum of family businesses.”

The company also receives help from Yorkshire-based academics to help it develop new technologies.

Mr Brocklesby said: “We have relationships with the universities of York and Sheffield, and we also have a high degree of internal experience. Hull has a long heritage of edible oil production.

“We expect to reach £75m turnover over the next five years, and staff numbers are expected to increase from 70 to 100.

“We process 10,000 tonnes a year of food waste, and we expect this figure to rise to 50,000 tonnes in the next 18 months.

“We run the operation from a 10 acre site, and there is additional land we can acquire locally.

“The amount of food going to landfill is extremely wasteful, when there are millions living in poverty. It’s quite disgraceful that we waste these products.

“East Yorkshire is very much geared up for energy, and that’s what we are producing.”

Professor James Clark, the director of the green chemistry centre of excellence at the University of York, said: “We have been working with Brocklesby for more than five years, and helping them to move towards a zero waste biorefinery concept.

“We’re particularly interested in working with regional companies.”

Professor Clark said there were strong economic and social benefits from stopping food waste.

He added: “You’ve got the environmental damage of dumping in landfill, but also the terrible waste of resources.”

Brocklesby is receiving support from the GrowthAccelerator programme.

GrowthAccelerator is a Government-backed partnership which involves leading private sector business growth analysts, including Grant Thornton and Oxford Innovation.

Mr Brocklesby said: “I’ve been absolutely delighted with the service provided under the GrowthAccelerator programme; it has given the company and myself such a boost and provided me with the firm foundations to achieve substantial growth.”