Tees

Brexit concerns over Ensus Wilton biofuels plant

Ensus
Image caption The plant has been mothballed four times since 2011

The owner of a Teesside biofuels plant has called for "immediate clarification" over the UK's future customs relationship with the EU.

Production at the Ensus plant in Wilton has resumed after its fourth pause in production since 2011 caused by a dip in global bioethanol prices.

German owner CropEnergies said the facility, which employs 100 people would run at reduced capacity for now.

The government said it was focussed on leaving the EU with a deal on 29 March.

Production was halted at the plant in November for the fourth time, with staff kept on as in previous shutdowns.

It converts wheat into fuel-grade alcohol, animal feed and carbon dioxide for the beer and fizzy drinks industry.

'Existential importance'

A spokesman for CropEnergies said: "It is planned to initially run the factory at reduced capacity to supply orders from British customers.

"Furthermore, the questions related to Brexit regarding customs for imports and exports to and from the United Kingdom need to be clarified immediately.

"The future customs regulations are of existential importance for the production site Wilton."

A government spokesman said the prime minister was still focussed on leaving the EU with a deal on 29 March.

He said there had been progress in talks with the EU but there was still a "significant amount" of work to do.

Government figures released earlier this week said the North East would be the worst hit area of the country by a no deal Brexit.

They predicted the region's economy could shrink by more than 10% over 15 years.

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