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How to Keep the Nuclear Pound in Cumbria

An audience of business leaders met at Westlakes Science and Technology Park last week to find out how to keep the multi-billion pound nuclear investment in Cumbria.

Keeping the Nuclear Pound in Cumbria was hosted by Burnetts Solicitors at their Energy Coast Office and presented by Cllr Tim Knowles. As well as holding the Cabinet portfolio for Economy for Cumbria County Council, Tim is a member of Oxford University’s Templeton College Strategic Leadership Programme and has considerable experience in the energy industry both in the UK and internationally.

During his presentation, Tim explained that in 2007/8 £183 million pounds was retained in West Cumbria by the nuclear industry which represented just 28% of their overall spend. Business services and design were the areas most likely to bought outside the County.

He said, “There is no doubt that the area, more than ever before, will depend on nuclear and other energy activities so we need to focus on what an asset Sellafield is. In terms of retention of current nuclear spend we could and should do better, but the public sector money which used to underpin economic development is not going to be there any more: the private sector will need to work together to develop consortia which can deliver the products and services the energy sector needs.”

The event was the idea of Burnetts’ Head of Corporate Law John Noctor. A West Cumbrian himself, John believes it is crucial that the economic benefits of the Energy Coast are enjoyed by local businesses.

“There is reportedly £2 billion worth of regeneration investment being made in West Cumbria1. That’s great news, but as a business-man I want to know how I can attract that money into my business and keep it in Cumbria to create local jobs and develop local skills. If we could get another 10% on top of the 28% we have now, it would transform the local economy. That’s what we have to aspire to. Today’s event was fully subscribed and we have had a lot of follow up, so we have obviously struck a chord.”

Representatives from the NDA and Sellafield attended along with private sector heavyweights like Stobbarts, Thomas Armstrong, the Story Group, Amec and Bendalls Engineering.

Norman Addison, Managing Director of Bendalls said, “Bendalls has supplied Sellafield for over 50 years making the nuclear sector a major part of our business and over the years this has given us a platform to diversify into the global Oil, Gas, Petrochem and Renewables Industries. However we also see further opportunities to diversify into the global Nuclear Industry and would hope that Nuclear Management Partners and other Tier 1 companies with their global contacts can help us achieve that. The opportunities from the keeping the nuclear pound in Cumbria are far reaching.”

Keeping the Nuclear Pound in Cumbria took place at UCLan’s Samuel Lindow Building from 9.30am – 11.30am on Thursday 15th July.  The event was free to invited guests.

Published: Wednesday 21st July 2010
Categorised: West Cumbria

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