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Abattoir Challenge Fund relaunched

The former abattoir at Hatston ceased operations in January.

Orkney Islands Council has relaunched a scheme aimed at reinstating a local abattoir, this week, after months of speculation.

The £50,000 Abattoir Challenge Fund had originally been awarded to butcher conglomerate Orkney Meat Processors Ltd. (OMPL), but the council have now confirmed that this money has been handed back.

“An initial award from the £50,000 fund was made earlier this year,” an OIC spokeswoman said.

“But no feasible project proposals have resulted from the research it supported.”

The council say that the aim of the fund is to encourage the private sector to develop potential solutions to the challenge of providing a sustainable abattoir for the county.

Bids can be made for funding to support a range of pre-project development costs, such as market research, feasibility studies and business planning.

“The Council has agreed today to relaunch the fund,” said Graham Sinclair, chairman of OIC’s development and infrastructure committee, on Tuesday.

“All involved are well aware of the considerable challenges that need to be overcome in providing future abattoir services for our community.

“But we are keen to encourage the industry to work collectively in finding a potential way forward. Most of the original fund is still available and we hope there will be further bids for financial support.”

The Orkney abattoir at Hatston ceased operations in January 2018. Over the previous five years the council says it has spent almost £1 million in an effort to support business by maintaining the operation.

The Council’s position is that the model which has been in place since 2012 is no longer sustainable and that any future provision of abattoir services in Orkney needs to be industry led.

According to OIC, Hatston abattoir had become too big for the county’s needs and much of the plant and equipment would be in need of significant re-investment.

Further information about how to apply for support from the fund is available from Jackie Thomson, OIC development and regeneration manager. For more information you can phone 01856 873535 (ext. 2507) or email jackie.thomson@orkney.gov.uk

For the full story, see this Thursday’s The Orcadian.

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