Cornerways set to build biggest glasshouse in UK

British Sugar's Cornerways Nursery has won planning permission to expand its glasshouse from 11ha to 18ha large - transforming it into the UK's largest single glasshouse.

The first tomato harvest from the new glasshouse is expected in March 2011 as construction work on the Norfolk-based site in Wissington near King's Lynn has already started.

The extension is expected to increase the company's tomato production from 80 million tomatoes to 140 million and create dozens of new jobs for the UK's fresh produce industry.

Yorkshire-based glasshouse design and construction firm Cambridgehok has been contracted to build the expansion. The company is equipping the glasshouse with the latest technology in screening, irrigation and crop management.This includes a rainwater harvesting system to maximise cropping.

Cornerways Nursery is situated in close proximity to the Wissington Sugar Factory's combined heat and power plant. The glasshouse benefits from the plant's free low-grade heat and carbon gases.

More than 140 miles of piping carries hot water from the factory's CHP plant to the glasshouse to maintain the warm temperatures that suit tomato plants. This hot water would otherwise be destined for cooling towers, so the scheme ensures that the heat is used productively.

A quarter of a million plants are grown in the tomato glasshouse. The fruit is harvested between February and November.

- The annual British Tomato Growers' Association conference is taking place at the Royal Court Hotel in Keresley, Coventry on 30 September. A conference dinner is taking place on the evening of Wednesday 29 September. For further details email

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