SUNDERLAND’S low-carbon enterprise zone has helped create more than 1,000 jobs across the region, new Government figures reveal.
The zone, centred on the Turbine business park next to Nissan, is one of three in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area, alongside Port of Blyth and the Blyth Estuary, and Port of Tyne and the River Tyne North Bank.
New research shows the 24 Enterprise Zones nationwide have now created more than 15,500 jobs and attracted more then 480 businesses, and more than £2.1billion in private investment.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, said: “Enterprise Zones are now picking up the pace and really starting to deliver for the economy.
“We’re seeing activity across the country, whether that’s established sites continuing to grow and expand, or vacant derelict sites brought back to life.
“That’s because our long-term economic plan is giving businesses the confidence to invest. They know that Enterprise Zones work and are making the most of the top-class incentives and world-class infrastructure on offer.
“And that’s great news for local economies and communities because it’s these kinds of businesses that have the vision to grow, creating thousands of more jobs for hard-working people.”
North East LEP chairman Paul Woolston, said: “The North East economy is reaping the benefits of its Enterprise Zone with 1,100 new jobs created on its 10 sites at firms including Vantec, Fraser Hydraulic, GE Oil and Gas and Bridon.
“The North East Enterprise Zone is specifically focused on supporting our industrial strength in sectors driving vital new economic growth – low carbon vehicle development, marine offshore, oil and gas, subsea and progressing the next generation of new and renewable energy technology.
“The zone covers sites at Sunderland, the North Bank of the Tyne and the Port of Blyth which qualify for enhanced capital allowances on plant and machinery investment, or business rate relief.”
Enterprise Zones were launched in April 2012 as part of a 25-year project to rebalance the economy, offering tax incentives, simplified planning and superfast broadband to companies.
As well as Vantec, the Sunderland enterprise zone is also host to the £4.48million Gateshead College-operated Future Technology Centre, designed as a base for companies doing cutting-edge work in the development of low-carbon transport.
The development, next to the former Nissan test track in Washington, was already 80 per cent full before it opened in June, with five companies signed up to move in before it officially opened.
The centre’s tenants include Smith Electric Vehicles, which manufactures and develops zero-emission commercial vehicles, low-carbon vehicle electronics and powertrain specialist Hyperdrive Innovation; charge point installation experts ELM EV; technology company Zero Carbon Futures and Tadea’s Effective Transport Solutions, which trains drivers in the best use of electric vehicles and environmentally-friendly driving techniques to cut carbon emissions.