Mandelson to receive future vision for NE England’s chem industry

26 November 2009 13:46  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--UK Sectretary of State Peter Mandelson will on Thursday be handed a 10-point action plan on how to tackle the immediate and long-term challenges facing Teesside’s chemicals industry, the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) said.

Industry leaders want to ensure that the Wilton chemical complex remains a pillar of the region's economy for years to come.

The proposed measures, drawn up by northeast England business leaders, local authorities and ministers of parliament, included improving energy efficiency, developments on carbon capture and storage, new investment in Teesside infrastructure, increased training of the skilled workforce and developing new innovative processes within the industry.

Additionally, the plan recommended that the government work more closely with businesses to identify new opportunities for sector growth.

The 10-point plan resulted from a study in October, headed by Bob Coxon, chairman of the Science and Industry Council for North East England, on behalf of NEPIC, which assessed the needs of businesses at Wilton following the recent announcement of several closures at the site.

“This action plan is very much by industry, for industry,” said Coxon, adding: “It captures the concerns of industry, the challenges it faces but also how industry intends to take decisive action to secure its future working closely with the public sector.

“The Tees Valley stands united in its determination to secure its future prosperity and I look forward to working with government to overcome the challenges we face,” he said.

The Wilton site has been hit by closures and job cuts in recent months. Dow Chemical announced the closure of the UK’s only ethylene oxide plant, which resulted in Croda saying it would also close its UK operations. The Wilton plant has also been hit by Artenius UK going into administration and shutting its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants.

“This plan breaks down the issues that need to be addressed by the industry into manageable pieces, allowing industrial leaders to become a focal point through which others in the sector, regional and national Government can contribute, to develop solutions that will secure the long-term future of the process industry in the Tees Valley,” said Stan Higgins, NEPIC Chief Executive.

“Recognising the importance of the chemical industry to the UK and the northeast economy, we must make these actions happen to secure the future of the industry,” said Paul Booth, president of major plastics producer SABIC UK.

At the Chemical Industry Association’s (CIA’s) annual dinner in London earlier this month, Mandelson said that the chemicals sector faced “total re-invention” as the UK moves towards a low-carbon economy.

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry visit ICIS connect

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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