Sugar beet is a root crop which is made up of sugar, fibre and contains a large amount of embedded water. Each year we survey the source and level of water our growers use to grow their crops; currently less than 5% of the crop receives any irrigation during the growing season.
British Sugar purchases around 7.5 million tonnes of UK sugar beet annually, which means our factories receive over 5.5 million tonnes of embedded water in beet. We extract that water and put it to work in our factories to maximise efficiency. We use water for cleaning, heating, cooling and transportation.
In total, over 60% of our water currently comes from beet, whilst the remaining sources are from rivers (27%), bore holes (6%) and town mains (6%).
Each factory has its own water treatment facilities, where water is held in a number of ‘lagoons’ before it is treated and returned to source. Water treatment and purification is carried out in accordance with strict Environment Agency standards before release.
All of the water we receive is either reused within our manufacturing process, returned to its immediate source or evaporated to air as steam.