The UK’s domestic consumption of recovered paper and board has taken another knock with the news that St Regis Paper Company is proposing to close one of its two machines at Wansbrough Mill in Watchet, Somerset.
The PM1 machine produces papers for use in manufacturing envelopes, bag-making and corrugated packaging.
The proposed closure, which would take out consumption of between 35,000 to 40,000 tonnes of old KLS/corrugated cases per annum, has been blamed on rapid and substantial energy price increases and a continuing fall in demand for the mill’s products as customers switch to alternative lower-cost types of paper.
The mill’s general manager David Foulds said: “We have explored all the options for returning PM1 mill to profitability. Regrettably, in view of the difficult market conditions and higher costs, we see no alternative to this proposal.”
If the move is confirmed following consultation with employees and their representatives, the mill’s output will fall from 150,000 tonnes of paper per annum to approximately 115,000 tonnes, while up to 50 of the 168-strong workforce are likely to be made redundant.
The proposed closure “does not in any way affect the operation of the Wansbrough PM5 machine, in which there has been a recent significant investment, or other St Regis operations”, the company insisted. PM5 produces high-quality corrugated.