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North West project aimed at revolutionising glass industry gets huge funding package worth £54m

An exciting scheme aimed at revolutionising the world’s glass industry has received a huge funding package from the Government, local council, combined authority and other industry firms. The Glass Futures scheme in St Helens, Merseyside, will mean a 90,000sq ft research centre, creating hundreds of jobs in the process.

Today’s funding announcement, which includes £15m from the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will mean another step towards reviving the closed United Glass facility. It will see a state-of-the-art glass furnace research and development centre built, capable of producing 30 tonnes of sustainable glass a day, with the ultimate aim of eliminating CO2 from the entire process.

The £54m announcement includes the Liverpool City Region combined authority’s funding pledge of over £9m announced earlier this year. As well as that, new amounts announced on Thursday are around £9m from St Helens Council – which will contribute the sum towards the cost of the project to be recouped in rent paid by Glass Futures.

Companies from around the glass sector are also set to contribute around £20m funding – taking the total investment to around £54m.

Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Merseyside has a long and rich history in glass manufacturing, and so I am pleased that this £54m investment – including £15m Government funding – will launch a new era in highly efficient, low-carbon glass production. “This new funding will build on our commitment to cut emissions across heavy industry, create green collar jobs on Merseyside and help us to build back greener.”

Initial building design work for the factory in St Helens, the traditional centre of the UK’s glass making industry, has already begun. It will be based on land next to St Helens RFC’s Totally Wicked Stadium.

Construction is hoped to begin next year, following completion of design and planning permission being granted. The facility is hoped to help the industry reduce emissions and build back greener from the Covid pandemic.

Glass Futures will see global innovation, training, research and development happen in St Helen’s with the potential to drive further economic growth.