Date: Monday, October 22, 2012

Seventeen projects and programmes in County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear have been allocated millions of pounds of funding in the third round of the Regional Growth Fund.

Paul Woolston, chair of the North East LEP said: “The success of the latest North East RGF bids is terrific news for the region. The breadth of innovative projects across many sectors which have won RGF Round three funding will inject new momentum into the region’s economy. They will create many thousands of new jobs and boost productivity and investment in the North East. 

“The projects reinforce our ambition to grow the economy of the region and create sustainable jobs, which underpin the long-term economic health of its key sectors.”

The three programmes allocated funding are Seaham-based Let's Grow, Northumberland County Council’s Arch Limited, and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s infrastructure fund.

Let’s Grow, which is led by Trinity Mirror North East, the Business and Enterprise Group and UNW chartered accountants, offers grants of between £50,000 and £1 million to North East companies. It aims to create up to 2,000 jobs, at least 1200 of which will be in the North East LEP area.

Arch, the development company of Northumberland County Council, will create over 600 jobs in the south east of the county with its £11.75m funding to support businesses in developing suitable premises.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership has been allocated £30 million from the Regional Growth Fund to develop an infrastructure fund. By targeting those projects with the greatest economic returns the fund aims to create at least 2,300 new jobs over 10 years.

The North East LEP board  members and executive worked hard to support the bids for RGF Round three,  with  members backing submissions and helping individual bids, as well as the LEP endorsing them to government.

The success of the North East, from Northumberland to Teesside, in being awarded £170m funding for 29 projects and programmes reinforces the growing momentum across the region’s business sectors.

Among the 14 successful projects in the North East LEP area are:

Five-Quarter Energy of Blyth which will develop a deep resource gasification plant. Harry Bradbury, chairman and chief executive of Five-Quarter called the £15m funding ‘a triumph for British vision and innovation’. The grant will help the company realise its plans to create energy from otherwise unworkable rock strata buried at deep levels beneath the North Sea.

Harry Bradbury said: “We are absolutely delighted that the government has recognised and is supporting the viability of our plans to convert subterranean solid rock to gases of economic importance, including methane and hydrogen. The magnitude of the award shows that the scheme is now clearly being recognised by the UK government as a strategic energy project of national significance.”

He added: “We hope to share our success with the wider region, bringing new jobs and regeneration to the North of England and Scotland and, in the longer term, to apply our knowledge strategically to grow both nationally and internationally.”

Ebac Group of Newton Aycliffe which will establish a new production facility to manufacture a range of domestic washing machines and refrigerators, creating more than 200 jobs. Ebac Group said it is to develop new products in a £7m venture, made possible by £1m from the RGF.

Managing director Pamela Petty said: "This exciting new venture is a huge boost to manufacturing in the North East of England because it opens up new markets for us, creating jobs and making County Durham home to the UK’s only washing machine manufacturing facility.

"We are very confident of having a high quality, competitive product on the market within the next two years. The money from the RGF makes all of this possible and will quickly reap returns for the economy."

The other successful projects include:

Actem (UK) Limited of Peterlee which will invest in capital equipment to allow production of low level waste nuclear containers.

Applied Superconductor of Blyth, which will develop and commercialise the company's superconducting fault current limiter (SFCL) technologies.

Caterpillar Peterlee which will expand its manufacturing capacity of articulated trucks

CAV Aerospace of Consett which is investing in R&D and new production equipment

Fabricom Offshore Services which aims to secure the UK as the location for expansion of the group's offshore project management activities by investing in capital equipment and R&D.

J Barbour & Sons which will increase manufacturing capacity at its Jarrow site.

Komatsu UK Limited, Chester-le-Street which will expand its R&D centre

NSK Bearings Europe which will invest in new production lines, a new furnace and an extension to an existing warehouse.

Offshore Group Newcastle will develop a new manufacturing plant at the company’s production facility.

SCM Pharma of Prudhoe will expand existing formulation and manufacturing capabilities of sterilised drugs and licensed medicines.

Siemens Transmission and Distribution will expand its Hebburn site

TRW Systems of Houghton-le-Spring will install two production and assembly lines for a new generation of electric power.

Further information from Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd. Tel 01670 790246 or 07711 698246.