Cemex, owners of the Rugby cement brand, are proposing to stop making cement at their Barrington plant in South Cambridgeshire.
The move is part of the company’s attempts to rationalise cement manufacture in the UK and make cost savings where possible. Barrington’s production will be taken up by other, more efficient Cemex plants in Rugbyand South Ferriby, North Lincolnshire. There are 87 employees at the Barrington site who are at risk of being made redundant.
Cement manufacturing at Barrington involves feeding wet raw materials, mainly limestone and clay, into the cement kiln. Compared to CEMEX’s two other plants, this more traditional process requires significantly more energy to manufacture the product.
Commenting on the decision, President of CEMEX UK, Gonzalo Galindo, said: “Barrington cement plant has been producing cement for nearly 80 years, and it is with considerable regret that we are now making this proposal, which could lead to job losses and the closure of a chapter in Barrington’s history.
“The current economic climate has driven us to implement efficiencies in all areas of our business, and the closure of Barrington’s kiln could help to secure the future of our cement manufacturing business in the UK. We will uphold our obligations to this site, including any future restoration commitments.”
As part of the proposal to turn off the cement kiln for good, one cement mill would remain operational during the first quarter of 2009.
The company then intends to explore the possibility of a limited sustainable alternative use for the plant site as a depot, which would be used to service customers in East Anglia. This could involve approximately 10 employees remaining on site, and a small number of daily vehicle movements to and from the plant. However, there would be no immediate demolition of buildings, as long-term plans for the site are still to be explored.
As part of CEMEX’s sustainability strategy, Barrington’s Secondary Liquid Fuel (an alternative waste derived fuel made from industrial liquid wastes that can’t be recycled) and Climafuel (Solid Recovered Fuel – waste derived fuel made from municipal and/or commercial waste streams) are likely to be diverted to CEMEX’s other UK cement plants.