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North East Enterprise Zone drives forward growth

North East Enterprise zone is playing a vital role in driving forward the economy, creating hundreds jobs and creating a centre of excellence for the automotive, offshore energy and low carbon sectors, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced.

Figures released today (Wednesday 12 November) show the Government’s 24 enterprise zones have created 12,530 jobs, attracted 434 new businesses and generated over £2 billion worth of private investment since opening for business.

North East Enterprise Zone has played its part in that success, creating more than 1,000 jobs and attracting new companies to the region. The zone playing a leading role in delivering low-carbon energy solutions for both the automotive and offshore sectors.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “The North East Enterprise Zone is going strength to strength, building on the innovation and manufacturing excellence that the region is rightly famed for. These are world-class sites that really are pushing the envelope when it comes to the automotive, offshore and low carbon sectors. These 1,000 jobs are just the start and proof our enterprise zone programme is on track, driving forward the economy and delivering benefits to local communities. “

The Government opened the 24 enterprise zones in April 2012 as part of a 25-year project to rebalance the economy, offering tax incentives, simplified planning and super fast broadband.

That vision has provided a major boost to the UK construction sector with work already carried out to redevelop 85 hectares of land and deliver more than 47,000 square metres of new or refurbished floor space.

The North East Enterprise Zone is providing a real platform for existing and emerging financial companies to grow. Benefits include:

Transport for the future: The UK’s first designated area for Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles. Nissan, next to the Sunderland Enterprise Zone site, are creating the sustainable transport solutions for the next generation, with production underway of its flagship Leaf electric car. The car has been awarded both European and World Car of the Year;
Next-generation renewables: The National Renewable Energy Centre, near the zone’s Port of Blyth develops a wide range of exciting technologies, from ultra-thin silicon solar panels to tidal energy in their simulated wave environment. The centre also trains engineers working in high-wind conditions and is home to the UK’s only independent facility capable of testing 50metre long super turbine blades for wind farms; and
Coastal hub: With over half of the UK’s third generation of wind farms within reach, the North East is the UK’s prime location for offshore wind, with more than 250 firms linked to the sector. Port of Tyne is one of Europe’s top 10 car handling facilities, with hundreds of thousands of vehicles passing through the terminal every year.

One company who has already invested in the Enterprise Zone is Fraser Hydraulic Power.

Peter Fraser, director at Fraser Hydraulic Power (FHP), says expanding the company onto the Neptune Energy Park, part of the North East Enterprise Zone, has allowed the company to boost orders to his suppliers in the North East area.

FHP, who design, manufacture and install electro-hydraulic systems for the subsea, marine and offshore industries, have maintained relationships with trusted local suppliers, but the move to “newer, bigger, better” premises on the enterprise zone has allowed them to grow their business.

“As well as the much-improved manufacturing facility, the site also provides access to a deep water quay,” says Mr Fraser. “Large equipment can be delivered or mobilised directly onto our client’s vessels without needing to use public roads.

The company forecast that the move will create six jobs in 2014, followed by a further ten in 2015. This expansion will no doubt have positive knock-on effect for the local economy: FHP estimate that around 90 per cent of their suppliers are based in the North East of England.