£4m injection to bring jobs boost

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A BARNSLEY firm that is one of only a handful in the UK capable of recycling massive pieces of electrical plant has invested £4 million in a job-creating expansion programme.

Stairfoot-based C Soar & Sons is the country’s largest specialist when it comes to dismantling, recycling and disposing of redundant transformers, generators, switchgear and related equipment that can weigh up to 600 tonnes.

The company has long-term contracts with major electricity companies, including Scottish and Southern Energy, UK Power Networks, Scottish Power and Northern Powergrid, as well as the National Grid, and operates throughout the UK.

New investment at the company’s base in Tank Row, Stairfoot, bolstered by business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley, has enabled the family-run firm to create 10 new jobs and expand the size of its operations by buying former council land and an adjacent builders’ yard to create a six acre, state-of-the-art site incorporating new offices, training rooms and testing laboratory.

The company has also developed its own heavy-duty roller system to allow transformers, which weigh up to 600 tonnes, to be moved before being dismantled at the customer’s site and brought to Barnsley to complete the recycling process.

Operations manager Dale Evans said: “Investing in facilities and staff to maintain the specialist engineering knowledge and logistics experience of our workforce has been of great importance to us, so we are extremely pleased that we have been able to achieve this expansion and remain in Barnsley.

“Enterprising Barnsley did a lot of the legwork for the negotiations as well as assisting with our expansion plans and the consolidation of two sites into one.

“It has been great to have that expert help and it has allowed us to keep nearly 40 jobs in Barnsley and create an extra 10.

“We hope that our recent investment will help us to become recognised as the centre of expertise in the disposal of power transformers.”

With a lot of electrical equipment in the power generation and distribution sectors reaching the end of its normal life span, Dale Evans reckons demand for C Soar’s services is increasing.

“We are at the start of a replacement programme that will last 20 years,” added Mr Evans.

C Soar & Sons was set up more than 50 years ago by the late Clarence Soar as a general scrap merchant, but he moved in to dismantling electrical equipment, some of which was left from the Second World War.

Sons Michael and Colin run the business today along with other members of the family.

The company reckons it hands 10,000 tonnes of electrical equipment every year and succeeds in recycling all but 1.5 per cent of the material, leaving just 150 tonnes that cannot be disposed.