Northern Powerhouse Minister launches Peel’s flagship £700m Protos scheme
Government Minister Andrew Percy MP heralded investment and collaboration in the Northern Powerhouse as he officially opened Peel Environmental’s £700m flagship energy destination, Protos. Cutting the ribbon on the 134-acre strategic development site near Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, he recognised Protos as being at the heart of the north’s emerging industrial strategy.
Protos is the only energy-focused development in the Government’s recently-unveiled Northern Powerhouse Investment Opportunities Portfolio, which will attract £5 billon of investment across 13 projects. Focused on energy, industry and innovation, the site is set to become a magnet for international investment. With Phase One infrastructure completed; a 21.5MW biomass facility in construction; a 19-turbine wind farm in operation and with plots ‘shovel-ready’ for development – Protos is open for business.
Mr Percy praised the £170 million investment already secured in the site and championed a further £500 million planned to commence in 2017 and be delivered over the next three to four years. He also welcomed the site’s wider long-term potential to bring £1.5 billion of investment and 13,000 jobs to the region.
Peel’s approach to partnership was also highlighted, with links to educational institutions helping maximise opportunities to nurture and retain skilled workers and innovative start-ups in the north.
A hundred invited guests joined the Protos team at the University of Chester’s neighbouring Thornton Science Park, where they heard how the site will provide a direct source of energy to existing and new industries in the surrounding area. Attendees also heard how this collaborative approach will underpin the success of the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone, which provides financial incentives to occupiers and is set to create 20,000 jobs.
Demonstrating the Northern Powerhouse in action, Protos also embodies the Government’s latest policy to create a cohesive industrial strategy to develop futureproof industries and technologies to compete on a global scale. The destination will provide a supportive environment in a prime location where new concepts can be taken from inception to development; demonstration and large-scale delivery.
During the visit, Mr Percy was given a tour of the 134-acre site which included the biomass facility currently under construction and the University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park, which provides important links to a future skilled workforce in partnership with sector specific businesses located on campus. Mr Percy also gave a keynote speech on the importance of Protos to the Northern Powerhouse and the economic significance of the Northern Powerhouse to the UK as a whole.
Robert Mee, a speaker at the event and Chair of the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone, welcomed reaffirmed confidence in the Northern Powerhouse and priority sectors such as science and innovation:
Guests included leading representatives from Cheshire West and Chester Council; the Cheshire and Warrington LEP; the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone Board; Ellesmere Port Development Board; University of Chester; Atlantic Gateway; and Peel Ports.