Security fencing for food suppliers

The UK is currently experiencing a wave of food shortages. In these times of possible deprivation, securing the food stock we have is more important than ever before.

Throughout this blog post, we’ll explore the issue of food security and shortages, as well as some of the ways in which Jacksons Fencing can help using experience to safeguard the UK’s supplies both now and in the future.

Why is food security so paramount?

We can pinpoint several key factors that are making food security a critical issue.

Firstly, the knock-on effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has made it more difficult to transport and source food from both domestic sources and throughout the wider world. This is accompanied by the after-effects of Brexit, which has further contributed to shortages and delays.

Lastly, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine means some trade routes are currently impacted, preventing the UK from accessing food stock that it would otherwise rely on.

These wider issues are layered on top of ongoing security concerns stemming from theft, which has always been a threat wherever high-value food and livestock are stored.

Scarcity is causing a number of problems for both consumers and food providers, due to rising costs and issues in the supply chain. Some of the main products that are threatened by shortages include everyday staples such as bread, cooking oils, corn, maize, and a variety of meats.

Without widespread availability of these products, the UK is bracing itself for shortages and empty supermarket shelves.

The nation currently wastes around 2m tonnes of food each year, while millions of adults and children struggle to put food on the table. These numbers look set to continue rising unless drastic action is taken.

With so much uncertainty brewing around the UK’s food stock, we cannot afford to be complacent about keeping existing food stores safe and secure. Thankfully, there are a few things that can be done to help safeguard them.

What kind of food suppliers are there in the UK?

The UK is home to a wide variety of different food suppliers, including:

  • Farms – frequently the first point of production for both meat and vegetables commonplace in the UK’s food chain
  • Factories – where food is processed for consumption by humans
  • Food manufacturers – the point at which ingredients are transformed into packaged products
  • Glasshouses and greenhouses – where fruit and vegetables are grown
  • Warehouses – where food is stored before it is shipped onwards to other locations to be sold to customers
  • Supermarkets – where customers can purchase the products that have passed through the existing food chain
  • This complex chain needs to be safeguarded in order for food to make its way to those who need it most.

    What security threats does the UK’s food supply face?

    Current threats are layered. Key issues at farms include agricultural vehicle theft and livestock theft, as well as fly-tipping, vandalism and protests that can disrupt food production. All of these can negatively impact the availability of food stock direct from farms, and are part of an ongoing crime problem impacting the agricultural space.

    Manufacturing sites and factories are at risk of break-ins and burglaries, as well as other criminal activity such as smuggling and arson. Additional threats to this space include noise pollution and even light pollution that can make them unmanageable, as well as access issues when security protocols are in place and the dual task of ensuring the space is protected from animals and intruders.

    The same issues also plague warehouses where food is stored, with additional problems including the need to protect fridges and cooling units from damage.

    Supermarkets meanwhile represent the end of the supply chain, and need to be protected from theft, reduce noise pollution to surrounding areas, and control access during times when the shop is closed to the general public, but delivery vehicles still need to be on the site.

    Challenges of food production and storage site security

    Distinctive food security issues call for innovative solutions that work within the context of each space, and in particular the physical security including security fencing and gates that a site needs will differ depending on the unique location and challenges.

    Farms have a need to protect not only any livestock on site but also safeguard the space without damage to wildlife. Depending on the risk, perimeters can range from thick hedgerows and stock fencing to more secure vertical bar fencing, and if residential property is also on-site, then timber fencing with an entrance gate can help secure vehicles.

    Adding gate automation provides the opportunity for more convenience and security but should always be carried out by registered engineers to ensure it is safe, while CCTV and lighting gives an additional layer of security and peace of mind.

    Manufacturing sites and factories generally require acoustic barriers to help reduce noise, as well as secure gates that can enable speedy deliveries and fob/card access for staff. Mesh security fencing should also be utilised; a close-knit mesh like Securi-Mesh® is ideal for preventing entry from animals.

    Storage warehouses benefit from perimeter fencing and fencing around specific units, as well as monitored and centrally controlled automated gates and secure barriers.

    Supermarkets often benefit from sliding gates and noise reducing acoustic barriers around delivery areas, while adding timber fencing to car parks can make the space more inviting.

    With its unique design combining the strength of steel mesh fencing with timber slats to add privacy, EuroGuard® Combi is perfect for storing waste, animal feed or fuel containers kept at the premises.

    How can high-quality fencing help solve these security issues?

    The right fencing can have a dramatically improved impact on the security of a wide range of food sites, from farms right through to supermarkets and everything in-between.

    Fences should always take into account the unique layout of the space, and all the factors that need to be considered when establishing a safe, secure area.

    Poorly constructed fencing can have a dramatically negative impact on the security of food sites, due not only to the resulting security issues but due to damage from rot or rusting, leading to costly and frequent replacements.

    High-quality fencing with a 25 year guarantee meanwhile provides a superb solution to a plethora of security concerns. Some of the best solutions for protecting food stores follow the 5 Ds model and include a range of measures such as fencing, PIDS, and access control through gate automation or traffic barriers, providing optimal perimeter security.

    As the UK’s leading perimeter security and access control manufacturer and supplier, Jacksons Fencing offers a wide range of solutions for securing food stores safely. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your premises.

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