THE North East’s low-carbon revolution received a boost at the opening of Rolls-Royce’s £100million new Wearside plant.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable visited Washington to open the new plant on the former Dunlop Tyres site.
The factory, which replaces the firm’s facility on the Pallion Industrial Estate, will make more than 2,500 fan and turbine discs a year for jet engines which will power aircraft made by Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier, safeguarding more than 300 highly-skilled manufacturing jobs.
The pair announced the launch of new £45million joint Government and industry funding for three projects led by Rolls-Royce through the Aerospace Technology Institute to develop new technology for low-carbon aircraft engines.
“We should be really proud that the UK is the number one aerospace industry in Europe and a world leader in innovation,” said Mr Clegg.
“The highly-skilled workers at the new Rolls-Royce factory are leading the charge for innovative technologies that are made in Britain. And the Government’s investment of £45million alongside industry will help to ensure the UK continues to build and design the planes of the future.
Research will be carried out by a number of partners across the UK including the University of Birmingham, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield, the Advanced Forming Research Centre in Glasgow, the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, and the Universities of Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.
Vince Cable was making his second visit to the site in 18 months, after carrying out the ground-breaking ceremony in 2012.
He was impressed with the speed of the development: “I am amazed and delighted,” he said.
“When I last was last here, it was a muddy field. Now you have got one of the most sophisticated factories in the world, producing advanced components, already with staff employed, machines operating, tested and contributing to the best company in the world, not just in this country, in its industry.”