Hemp Factory Set For Halesworth
Wed, 8 Aug 2007 © East Anglian Daily Times (UK)
THE WORLD'S biggest factory for processing hemp - claimed to be the "green" building material of the future - is being planned for a Suffolk town at a cost of UKP3.6 million.
When running at full capacity the plant will employ 35 people and enable operator, Hemcore Limited, the UK's only commercial hemp processing company, to process 50,000 tonnes of hemp straw a year.
The new facility is to be installed in an existing building at the Halesworth Business Centre.
Hemcore said last night that a site was selected in eastern England to ensure it was close to the majority of existing hemp growers.
"This is also an area where the growing base is expected to expand rapidly as the demand for hemp products continues to increase," said Mike Duckett, Managing Director.
Installation is due to begin in January 2008 with commissioning of the new plant due to start in May.
It is expected to be fully operational in the summer of next year, with production increasing over a four year period until full capacity is reached.
Currently, 4,500 tonnes of hemp are processed at Hemcore's existing facility in Maldon. This will be closed down when the new factory becomes operational.
Mr Duckett said: "Our new facility is great news for the environment and the region's farmers, more and more of whom are already reaping the benefits of growing hemp."
Use of hemp-based products would help the UK to reduce its carbon emissions. Emerging markets included plastics reinforcement, nutrition, clothing and horticulture, he added.
David Sillett, rural development manager at the East of England Development Agency, said the project would contribute to the adoption of more sustainable construction methods, while creating additional employment and benefiting farmers.
Hemp, which grows up to four metres high, is tolerant of both drought and heavy rain and does not require pesticides.
Environment Minister, Phil Woolas, said: "This new investment in Suffolk will provide many benefits - for local jobs, the economy, and for those farmers who will have the opportunity to help meet increased demand for this crop.
"It also gives a clear signal that the UK is serious about developing the bio-economy because of the many benefits it can provide - including reducing greenhouse gases, cutting waste and pollution and helping biodiversity."
Hemp is a member of the cannabis family but has virtually no drug content. It has been used to make textiles for at least 6,000 years and was once widely cultivated in the UK to produce fibre for sails and rigging.
Ed Note: Are the Englishmen getting it? Hemp for raw materials and oil as base material for food and construction is the only solution out of the unsustainable mess we have created.
Hemp was made illegal in 1937 through a conspiracy of prominent industrials and because of the perjury, lies, racism and blasphemy of a man named Harry J. Anslinger.
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*Industrial-Hemp has no psychoactive properties following definition of the European Economic Community (EEC); THC content is less than 0.3%. In general, low THC-seed varieties without psychoactive properties are those that have a THC content of less than 1%. (See also No-THC Hemp-seed.) THC= Delta-9 TetraHydroCannabinol.
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