When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Leaders to lobby for £2bn technology hub in East Lancs
THE government’s new £2 billion aerospace technology hub should be in East Lancashire – at the heart of the industry – politicians and business leaders said last night.
Euravia boss Dennis Mendoros, Ribble Valley Tory MP Nigel Evans and Burnley Liberal Democrat Gordon Birtwistle all said the proposed enterprise zone next to the BAE Systems factory at Samlesbury would be the ideal site.
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Mike Damms will join them in lobbying the government for a local home for the centre aimed at keeping the UK at the forefront of world plane-making.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg yesterday announced the government and the civil aero-industry would invest £1 billion each over seven years to create the UK Aerospace Technology Institute.
It will develop the next generation of quieter, energy-efficient aircraft securing 115,000 jobs in the industry and its supply chain.
Mr Clegg, on a visit to Airbus’s Filton factory in Bristol, said: “Aerospace experts with highly specialised skills are working hard to make sure the UK remains Europe’s number one aerospace manufacturer. “We’re doing all we can to maintain this jewel in our crown, which is why government is working with industry to inject £2 billion into a unique long-term strategy to maintain Britain’s position.”
The firms taking part include Rolls-Royce which has a factory in Barnoldswick.
Mr Mendoros, who is also chair of Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, said: “When I chaired the North-West Aerospace Alliance in 2007, I suggested something similar to the government with its headquarters in Lancashire.
“I shall be writing to Mr Clegg to ensure the headquarters of the new institute is on Samlesbury ent- erprise zone at the epicentre of the aerospace industry here in Lancashire.”
Mr Evans said: “This project should be based at Samlesbury in the heart of the UK aerospace industry here in East Lancashire. I shall be lobbying Prime Minister David Cameron on this.”
Mr Birtwistle said: “East Lancashire is the heart of the UK aerospace industry and its supply chain. Samlesbury is at the heart of that heart and the ideal location for this exciting development.”
Mr Damms said: “Samlesbury is the ideal and obvious location.”