Low-energy fish and chips in Barnsley

Eco-friendly refurb of chip shop follows owner taking part in Net Zero Barnsley initiative delivered by The Business Village in partnership with local council. 

The past few years have not been great for those who run traditional fish and chip shops. In 2022, there were reports that a third of them were at risk of going bust, due to a perfect storm of rising prices for fish, potatoes and cooking oil – and the general rise in cost of living generally. But enterprising owners in Barnsley are now investing in the long-term future of their business and employing some ingenious tech to make it eco-friendly. 

Craig Butcher at Two Gate Fisheries in Shafton, photo courtesy of Barnsley Council

Craig Butcher at Two Gate Fisheries in Shafton, photo courtesy of Barnsley Council

Sarah Thompson and Craig Butcher run the Two Gates Fisheries in Shafton, which was originally established in 1935 with a coal-fired range. The chimney from that original range can still be seen in the shop today though for the past 20 years the shop has used a new range. This is what has now replaced with the latest technology. 

To begin with, Craig completed the Net Zero Barnsley programme, an initiative delivered by The Business Village in partnership with Barnsley Council. As part of this, he and his business partner reviewed every aspect of the way they serve fish and chips, looking for ways to save energy, minimise waste and reduce food miles.  

Net Zero Barnsley is part of the Low Carbon Project part-financed by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, through which it has received a total of £3.4m to date. 

Through Net Zero Barnsley, Craig also applied for a Low Carbon Grant and was awarded £12,499 to invest in a new £56,000 state-of-the-art electric Kiremko Jubilee frying range. This is widely considered to be the most energy-efficient model on the market. Craig estimates that it will slash his business’ fuel consumption and carbon emissions by half, reducing energy bills by some £3,537 and CO2 emissions by 8,045kg CO2 per year. Over the expected 20-year life of the range, it is expected to save some 871,140kWh of electricity and 160.8 tonnes of CO2. 

In addition to installing this high-tech range, Craig has also cut carbon by reorganising and increasing storage, which means he is able to reduce the number of deliveries he needs to replenish stock. He also sources as many supplies as he can locally and has invested in an electric car for home deliveries. He’s also looking at ways to fully replace single-use-plastics, better recycle materials used in the shop, and the potential for fitting solar panels. 

Craig says: ‘Joining Net Zero Barnsley has really helped me look at my business differently and develop it in ways that are good for the planet and for our bottom line. 

‘We 100% want to invest in our future and the Low Carbon Grant is a great help. The new range is a huge initial outlay for us but if you’re buying the Ferrari of all chip shop ranges it’s going to be expensive. 

‘This range is engineered to be the quickest, safest and best insulated ever, and once it’s fired up the heat retention is phenomenal. When you need your range on eight hours a day, six days a week that’s absolutely core to the business. It makes top quality fish and chips too! 

‘This business fried fish and chips for the community throughout World War Two and the Covid pandemic. We want to be here for people for another hundred years or more and becoming more sustainable as a business will enable us to achieve that. A net zero future has got to include fish and chips, right? 

‘We’ve all got to do our bit and I’ve found it fascinating to work with experts and learn all about what it means for us.’ 

Kevin Steel, Business Development Manager for Net Zero Barnsley, adds: ‘Two Gates Fisheries has embraced all the opportunities presented by the government’s legal requirement for UK businesses to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 – and Barnsley Council’s earlier target of 2045. 

‘Craig must be running one of the most forward-thinking fish and chip shops in the country and we hope his example will give others food for thought.’ 

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