C&C Group is relying on imports of carbon dioxide from Eastern Europe after an explosion at one of the UK's biggest CO2-producing plants caused the site to shut down.

The explosion, at the plant in Billingham, Teesside, happened on 1 June but the factory's owner, Terra Nitrogen, is still repairing the damage caused by the incident.

The Billingham blast could threaten a number of fizzy drinks producers in the UK when demand for soft drinks is at its peak.

C&C, which is in the middle of rolling out its flagship Magners cider across the UK, has revealed that it has been importing emergency supplies of CO2 from Eastern Europe.

"There has been some disruption to the supply of both soft drinks and cider to customers since late June because of a constraint on the supply of CO2 in the UK and Irish markets," the company said. A C&C spokesperson refused to comment on how long the company believed the shortage would last.

A spokesman for Britvic, which produces PepsiCo products in the UK, said the shortage was "not an issue for us".

"We do not have an issue with CO2 and we have had assurances from our suppliers that will remain the case," he told just-drinks today (10 July).

A Coca-Cola GB spokesman failed to return a request for comment, while Terra Nitrogen officials could not be reached for comment.