The Government-approved Enterprise Zone consists of a number of areas in and around the Port on the banks of the Tyne which will focus on offshore renewables, together with an area around the Nissan plant in Sunderland designated as a focus for low-carbon vehicle manufacture.
Low-carbon enterprises are an important potential growth area for North East England’s economy, and the Enterprise Zone is focused on attracting investment into this sector. There are lots of advantages at the Port of Tyne for companies looking to find the best location to site an offshore renewables operation, whether it’s manufacture, assembly or servicing of the equipment required. The Port’s North Estate is close to the mouth of the river, so makes getting in and out to sea easier; it has deeper water than a lot of other riverside sites and, with 30 hectares available, more land on offer too. The close proximity of other available sites in the Enterprise Zone, including the old Swan Hunter and Neptune yards, means that there is a real opportunity to create a concentrated industry cluster on the north bank of the Tyne.
In addition the area offers a wealth of relevant skills and expertise. Its strong industrial base and wide-ranging engineering skills are a major part of its attraction, as are the research and testing facilities at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth.
The concessions available mean that companies looking to base manufacturing plants here can save substantial sums in their initial start-up costs. Enhanced capital allowances for plant and machinery could yield huge cash flow benefits, and additional business rate discounts are also available. Businesses looking to invest in the Enterprise Zone will also find that a lot of planning issues will be simplified, making it easier for them to get underway sooner rather than later.
It’s a real case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, and that’s what the Port, together with NELEP, is aiming to deliver.