1 June 2022. Built environment consultancy Arup has been selected to lead the transformation of the Shotton Paper Mill in Deeside, North Wales, by the site’s owner Eren Holdings.

Arup announced that the converted facility will produce ‘up to 750,000 tonnes of cardboard each year’, as well as holding the capacity to recycle ‘all waste paper generated in Wales’.

The redevelopment, also involving architects AHR, is expected to bring in £600 million to the local area, creating 660 new jobs. The site is expected to be fully operational by 2024, with the Arup-led team providing project management, design and engineering expertise for its final phase.

A containerboard machine building, new warehouse and dispatch facilities and a combined heat and power boiler building will be included in the expansion. Further phases expected for the project involves a corrugated packaging factory and tissue factory.

Shotton Paper Mill was founded in 1983 by Finnish bioindustry company UPM Kymmene. Until 2020, the Mill recycled paper and sorted other recyclable materials at its on-site materials recovery facility.

On 26 August 2020, the site’s long-standing owners, UPM, revealed its plan to sell the Deeside mill, which had been producing approximately 250,000 tonnes of recycled newsprint per annum. According to UPM, the reason behind this was the ‘continued long-term decline in graphic paper demand combined with weakened economic outlook’.

It was subsequently reported that the production of the paper machine would be converted to produce another material, such as lightweight cardboard.

In May 2021, UPM signed an agreement to sell its newsprint mill site in Shotton to Turkish cardboard business Eren Paper Ltd. Subsequently, production of newsprint at the site came to an end in September 2021, when Eren Paper Ltd began converting the site.

Director at Arup, Andy Pennington, said: “This development will create one of the most technologically advanced [fibre] mills in the world. It exemplifies what's best in sustainable development, bringing significant investment and new jobs to the Deeside area – as well as significantly increasing recycling capacity for this part of the UK.”

Shotton Mill’s General Manager, Dan Johnson, commented: “Shotton Mill and Modern Karton are delighted to have the expertise and experience of Arup leading the design of this development. Arup’s support of the design and implementation in the UK and Turkey was a key factor in choosing them as our partner. This is a very exciting time in the mill and we look forward to working with Arup to deliver a world-class manufacturing facility in North Wales.”

Director of AHR, Gurminder Sanghera, added: “AHR is delighted to collaborate with Arup to deliver this innovative, state-of-the-art facility for a client with sustainability principles embedded within its culture and production process. This exciting project will deliver huge benefits for the local region – in terms of skills and generating employment – and we’re proud to be part of the design team helping bring this project to fruition.”

Arup and AHR’s track record in collaborating to create advanced industrial projects and pioneering office developments has included: Airbus’ Wing Integration Centre in Bristol; The Spine in Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (which is set to become one of the world’s healthiest workplaces); and the design of Siemen’s new train manufacturing facility in Goole.