A Lincoln biotechnology firm has been awarded a research grant of more than £500,000 to improve poultry welfare and reduce waste.

The £514,000 Innovate UK grant, awarded to Arden Biotechnology, will fund a two year project to develop a natural solution to a disease that results in paralysis and painful bone deformities in poultry – without relying on antibiotics.

The wider aim of the project is to improve welfare, and reduce feed usage and food waste, resulting in less carbon emissions.

Arden Biotechnology, based at the Lincoln Science & Innovation Park, and Avara Foods, one of the UK’s largest poultry producers, are working together to develop the solution.

Dr Joseph Brown, Research Director at Arden Biotechnology, said: ““The bacteria we are looking to control is naturally present in healthy chickens, but in some cases, the bacteria get to where they normally aren’t and form cyst- like growths within the spine resulting in paralysis.

“This paralysis means the birds can’t feed or drink and unfortunately die from dehydration or starvation unless there is an interventioned. Previously antibiotics, now largely banned from the food chain, kept this avian pathogen – Enterococcus cecorum- under control.”

According to the World Health Organisation, feed accounts for 78% of greenhouse gases in poultry production. In reducing the amount of pathogenic bacteria that are associated with poor feed conversion ratio, birds are able to gain weight in a more efficient manner. This means that less feed is consumed to achieve target weights.

Dr Brown added: “So the natural solution we are researching would support the agricultural transition to a net zero carbon emission industry through reduced feed usage, reduced food waste and improved welfare.”

Plans for a series of business units and offices to the north of Beevor Street in Lincoln have been approved.

The City of Lincoln Council’s Planning Committee voted in favour of Lincoln Western’s plans to build 21 units on the site as well as outline plans for two further office buildings nearby.

The main site, to be called Foundry Park, will include new access roads, 43 initial car parking spaces, cycle parking, landscaping and two areas for sustainable drainage systems.

Speaking following approval Ben Martin, Project Manager, said: “We’re happy to see the approval at tonight’s committee.

“We’ve been working on this development for the past few years – looking for a sustainable use on this prime site.

“This will be another prominent Jackson & Jacksons development in the city centre. The usage works with the local area and meets the needs of the ever growing city.”

Site layout plans for the business units which are up for full approval.

Officers said the proposals made “effective and efficient use of land”.

Councillors were mostly positive, though there were questions around what the future design of SUDS and noise mitigation measures might look like put to the planning officer.

Labour Councillor Gary Hewson said: “It’s a great application because it’s obviously a brownfield site and its sorely needed in this location. Hopefully the buildings will create jobs as well moving forward.”

He added that the railway entrance into the city next to the site was currently “not the best” and hoped it would improve the view.

The applicant’s plans for office buildings are only at outline stage at the moment.

The build will break down into one large building containing a unit of its own and four others, each split into five units.

Although due to come back before planning at a future point for confirmation, the planned office buildings are designed to be four-storeys high. Parking could be included on the ground floor to help mitigate flood risks.

Officers said that although there was initial concern over the height, the applicants were able to convince them it was “not unusual to see taller buildings at the edge of the urban area” and that there were a number of comparable buildings in the wider area.

The application received one objection from a nearby business around potential noise issues, however, statutory consultees raised no objections, only asking that further noise assessments be carried out when the office plans returned to the council.

Lincolnshire County Council has also asked for £25,000 contribution from the applicant to be used towards upgrading pedestrian facilities on Beevor Street and Tritton Road as well as a Hirebike station within the site.

Prosecutions against two men have been secured after Lincolnshire Trading Standards seized more than 17,000 illicit cigarettes from a shop in Boston.

Officers from Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police raided the Europa shop on Fydell Street in Boston on June 12, 2020, nine days after a test purchase revealed illegal cigarettes were being sold there.

A second test purchase and raid then took place in March 2021, with a total of 17,140 counterfeit cigarettes and 650g of hand-rolling tobacco seized from the premises.

Over 17,000 illicit cigarettes were seized. | Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

On both occasions, Ahmed Mahmood, 22, of Argyll Street, Boston, had sold the products and was present during the raids.

At some stage between the raids in June 2020 and March 2021, 41-year-old Dana Omer, of Searjent Street, Peterborough, became the owner of the business.

At Boston Magistrates’ Court on December 20, 2021, Omer pleaded guilty to four offences for his involvement in the sale of illegal tobacco, and was fined £484.

He was also ordered to pay a £48 victim surcharge and cover £300 of legal costs, totalling £832 altogether.

Ahmed Mahmood initially pleaded guilty to 11 offences against his name, but at a court hearing on January 17, 2022, he seemed to change his story and said he didn’t know the goods were counterfeit.

The court was unconvinced by his arguments, and he was given 120 hours of unpaid work, as well as being ordered to pay £350 cost contribution and a £95 victim surcharge.

Two test purchases provided enough evidence of illegal activity at the shop. | Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire Trading Standards officer, Anna Chapman, said: “Omer and Mahmood were completely brazen in their offending; when the shop was raided, the illegal tobacco products were found simply piled up in an open suitcase in the back of the shop. They knew what they were doing was wrong but continued to peddle their illicit wares, even after the shop was first raided.

“These products are dangerous for consumers; you don’t know what is in them, and they often won’t self-extinguish making them a huge fire risk. We’ve also seen how the trade in illicit tobacco attracts other crime and anti-social behaviour to an area, further damaging our communities.

“Help us stub out illicit tobacco in Lincolnshire. If you know anything about illegal tobacco products being sold in our area, let us know.”

+ More stories