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Palm Paper investing for the future at its Norfolk mill

PUBLISHED: 13:27 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:00 17 September 2019

Dr Wolfgang Palm at Palm Paper  Picture: Neil Didsbury

Dr Wolfgang Palm at Palm Paper Picture: Neil Didsbury

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A giant paper mill which supports hundreds of jobs in Norfolk is set for a £10m revamp.

Palm Paper beside the River Ouse in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtPalm Paper beside the River Ouse in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

As he celebrated 10 years of operating the plant he built beside the Ouse in King's Lynn in 2009, Dr Wolfgang Palm said the machinery would be given an upgrade to churn out higher grades of paper.

MORE - How Palm Paper's giant mill came together in King's Lynn

The mill has churned out around 4m tonnes of paper since it opened in 2009  Picture: Matthew Usher.The mill has churned out around 4m tonnes of paper since it opened in 2009 Picture: Matthew Usher.

Falling newspaper circulations mean there is less demand for newsprint, said the owner of Palm Paper. So the plant has developed new grades of paper for magazines and other publications.

"It's no secret to keep the machine at full capacity we needed to produce different products," he said.

"We have just decided to invest further in the mill. We will have a major rebuild of the paper machine next year. It's £10m, the purpose of this rebuild is to be able to produce even higher grades."

Palm Paper employs around 200 people, while its supply chain supports hundreds more across Norfolk and further afield.

Dr Wolfgang Palm said the plant's machinery would be given a £10m refurb to produce higher grades of paper Picture: Matthew Usher.Dr Wolfgang Palm said the plant's machinery would be given a £10m refurb to produce higher grades of paper Picture: Matthew Usher.

"We employ people from the area, we trained them to be paper makers and they are a highly-motivated workforce, they are doing a great job," said Dr Palm. "We are very happy to be here in King's Lynn in west Norfolk."

Since the mill started rolling in August 2009, it has produced around 4m tonnes of paper and seen a total of £400m invested in the site.

Last year a natural gas-fired heat and power plant was built beside it.

As well as producing electricity and steam for the machinery, it cuts Palm's CO2 emissions by 80,000 tonnes a year and can also supply power to the National grid in times of crisis such as last month's black-out across parts of the Home Counties.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh officially opening the plant in 2010  Picture: PAThe Queen and Duke of Edinburgh officially opening the plant in 2010 Picture: PA

A paper separation plant is also being built on the site. Dr Palm said he was in talks with councils over having consumers separate paper and cardboard when they recycled them, to improve the quality of raw materials sent to the plant. He said this would enable Palm to pay more for it.

He said the company, which also operates mills in Germany was looking at producing light-weight card to replace plastic packaging and working with online giant Amazon to reduce wasted space in its boxes.

He said the Lynn mill, which obtains all its raw materials from the UK and sells to a UK customer base had nothing to fear from Brexit.

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