‘Vast potential’ and a ‘skilled workforce’ – ex-Sunderland student reveals why he returned to city with £100 million investment and jobs plan

A former University of Sunderland student is hoping to bring up to 100 jobs to Wearside after bosses gave the green light to a major new recycling centre.

By James Harrison
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 12:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 4:11 pm

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Proposals submitted by Norwegian company WasteFront AS for a facility giving new life to old tyres were approved by Sunderland City Council this week.

Work on the site of the former Sunderland Oil Storage unit, at Hudson Dock East Side, in Barrack Street, is expected to begin later this year, with completion slated for 2024.

And once up and running, the firm hopes it will have created the UK’s “greenest tyre recycling plant”.

Tyre recycling plant, Wastefront is to be based at Port of Sunderland. From left Wastefront CEO Vianney Valès and Sunderland City Council Leader Cllr Graeme Miller.

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Christian A. Hvamstad, a co-founder and director of the firm, said: “As a graduate of the University of Sunderland and a former resident of the city, I have seen with my own eyes the vast potential it has to capitalise on the economic opportunities that the net zero agenda will generate.

“From the region’s world-class universities to its skilled workforce, I’m sure it comes as no real surprise to those familiar with the area that it is currently attracting investment from industry heavyweights such as Nissan and Envision and we’re very much looking forward to joining them as we help the UK step up the pace in the race to decarbonisation.”

Plans for the recycling plant - estimated to be worth £100 million - were first unveiled in 2020, with a further “three or four” similar facilities expected to be built elsewhere in the UK.

Plans for the new facility have been approved for the Port of Sunderland.

The plant will convert end-of-life tyres (ELTs) into biofuels and other products which can then be used as alternative fuels or raw materials to make new tyres and other products.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of the city council, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news not only for Sunderland, but the entire UK.

“Not only is this a fantastic story for the circular economy in terms of waste pollution, but it is also a fantastic circular economy success story for the city, demonstrating how the success of the university and recent developments such as the expansion of Port of Sunderland and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park are helping establish an ecosystem that nurtures and retains the best talent, driving innovation and attracting investors from across the globe to the city.”

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How the Wastefront site would look at the Port of Sunderland.

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Where the Wastefront plan will be
Wastefront co-founder and director Christian A Hvamstad.