Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Council launches Abattoir Challenge Fund

Council launches Abattoir Challenge Fund
11 December 2017

Orkney Islands Council has announced the launch of an ‘Abattoir Challenge Fund’ to encourage the private sector to become directly involved in developing a solution to the challenge of providing sustainable abattoir services in Orkney.

Up to £50,000 is to be made available to support a range of pre-project development costs, such as market research, feasibility studies, business planning, succession planning, etc.

The Council owns the existing abattoir at the Hatston Industrial Estate in Kirkwall. Considered state-of-the-art when it was re-opened following refurbishment in 2003, it has been operated on a reduced basis since 2012 by a consortium of local butchers, Orkney Meat Processors Limited. However, the facility is ageing and is also too big for current and forecasted throughput.

Councillor Graham Sinclair, Chair of the Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, said: “Orkney Beef and Orkney Lamb continue to have a widespread reputation for quality due to largely grass-fed livestock production. The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status requires the beasts to be slaughtered in Orkney, so we are keen that this important contribution to Orkney’s superb food and drink offer can be continued. There’s also potential for high-quality export markets to be reached through adding value to the core product in a wide range of ways. It is important too that animal welfare issues are addressed through maintaining an emergency slaughter facility.

“The current abattoir is simply too big and the equipment too old. It’s time to try a new approach and this Fund is intended to encourage innovation and new thinking. Ideally, we hope that a private sector organisation will come forward and develop a more efficient facility on an appropriate scale, possibly with capital grant support from the public sector.”

A spokesperson for Orkney Meat Processors Limited, said: “Running an abattoir isn’t our core business. It is becoming increasingly more challenging to continue providing a service from the current abattoir, so we would welcome an alternative provision. First and foremost we are butchers with local customers to serve and we will make every effort to ensure that we can continue to offer our customers meat and meat products sourced from locally reared livestock.”

Interested parties should contact Gavin Cameron, Funding Development Officer, at the Council in the first instance, who will be able to provide further information and an application form. Closing date for applications is 5 February 2018.

Further Information

All abattoirs require to be licensed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and a plant is licensed to a nominated Food Business Operator (FBO) rather than to the landlord (which may not be an FBO). The FBO is responsible for running the plant in a hygienic manner using a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) based approach.

The intended outcome of the Abattoir Challenge Fund is to encourage the private sector to become directly involved in providing a solution to the provision of abattoir services in Orkney. The application process is therefore deliberately non-specific in terms of the types of expenditure that might be funded. Assistance may be provided via the EU de minimis regulation if required to adhere to EU State Aid regulations.

The following guidelines have been adopted:

1. Applicants should contact Council officers at the earliest opportunity to discuss their interest in a future Orkney Abattoir and prior to submitting an application.

2. All applicants must already be, or be willing and able to become, an appropriately licensed abattoir operator.

3. Applicants must be able to demonstrate knowledge and/or experience in the meat processing industry.

4. Applications should be accompanied by draft proposals outlining the model of abattoir ownership/operation that they envisage.

5. Funding and/or funded consultancy may be available to assist with a range of pre-project development costs, for example: market research, feasibility studies, business planning, succession planning, etc.

6. The deadline for receipt of applications is 5 February 2017.

7. Applications will be evaluated by the Council and reported to its Development and Infrastructure Committee for consideration and determination at its meeting scheduled for 27 March 2018.

Contact: Gavin Cameron, Funding Development Officer, Orkney Islands Council, Council Offices School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney KW15 1NY.

Telephone: 01856873535 extension 2830.

Email: gavin.cameron@orkney.gov.uk