Prescott calls a halt to Quinn Glass plant

The opening of Sean Quinn’s £250m (€357.5m) glass container plant in Cheshire in three months’ time has been scuppered by a surprise decision made by John Prescott, Britain’s deputy prime minister, to hold a public inquiry into the project.

Even if the factory is eventually given the green light, the 11th-hour announcement is likely to delay production for at least 12 months and possibly two years.

Prescott’s intervention was the culmination of a sustained campaign by Rockware, a rival bottler owned by the Irish group Ardagh Glass, which argued that the market was already saturated. It warned MPs in Yorkshire, where its factory is based, that 1,000 jobs there could be lost if the Quinn plant, which is expected to employ 550 staff, was allowed to go ahead.

Prescott has been criticised for the timing of his decision, which has been attributed by many quarters to political expediency in the countdown to a general election expected on May 5. Andrew Miller, a Cheshire Labour MP, accused the government of “political cowardice” because it could not countenance the prospect of job losses in northern England during an election year.

Prescott did not detail the exact reason for his decision beyond saying it was based on “important wider implications”. This is understood to be a reference to Rockware’s complaint that the factory would breach European Union emission limits.

“His (Prescott’s) policy is to be very selective about calling in planning applications,” states the notice of the minister’s decision to Chester city council. “Having regard to this policy, the secretary of state (Prescott) is of the opinion that the application is one that he ought to decide himself.”

The decision to locate the 205-acre plant in Cheshire had been regarded as an economic coup for the area. The Northwest Development Agency gave grant aid of £4.9m and the Department of Trade and Industry provided regional incentives.

The council initially granted planning permission in October 2003. Quinn Glass submitted a subsequent application to increase the size of its proposed plant by 25%, build more production lines and change the furnace. Although this meant the company was forced by the High Court to make a fresh application, it used the previous planning permission granted for the smaller plant to continue building work in the interim.

Throughout the process, the local council has remained fully committed to the project.

“We are surprised that the government has decided to intervene in what is essentially a local planning matter,” said Simon Hughes, the head of the planning department at Chester city council.

Hughes said Prescott’s office had eight months to consider the matter and expressed his frustration that the minister had taken so long to reach this conclusion.

600450 Prescott calls a halt to Quinn Glass plant
Date: 21 March 2005

See more news about:

Others also read

Emirates Glass, a Dubai Investment subsidiary, has won a major contract to supply 140,000 square meters of its premium glass to the prestigious development on the Palm Jumeirah, reaffirming its already established reputation as the single most prominent company in the entire regional glass industry.The deal was announced during the company's participation in the prestigious Big 5 show, the largest annual venue for the entire Middle-East glass contracting industry.
Isra Vision Systems AG supplier of machine vision systems, has successfully improved its market position in display glass inspection with a major order totalling 1.8 Mio Euro.
Packagers such as the UK's Rexam and private equity firms are set to vie for pump-sprayer business Calmar, which France's Saint-Gobain (SGOB.
The National Lime & Stone Co. will discontinue production of calcined lime early next month at its Carey plant, the company CEO announced Thursday.
Jain Scientific Glass Works, manufacturers of glassware for laboratories, is importing glass as raw material from China, which was much cheaper than the local product and abundantly available.
Japan 1 2 1 S. Korea 6 6 3 Southern Taiwan 4 2 0 Central Taiwan 0 4 2 AGC Japan 0 1 1 Taiwan (Yunlin) 1 1 1 Source: PIDA (Photonic Industry & Technology Development Association) Taiwan TFT-LCD Panel Makers Happy to See Substrate-price Falls in 2006 Taipei, Dec. 27, 2005 (CENS)--Both of the world's top-two glass-substrate makers are actively expanding their production capacity in Taiwan, which is expected to cut substrate transportation time and cost for local thin film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panel makers and boost production efficiency, according to Michael Wang, project manager and senior analyst of Taiwan's PIDA (Photonic Industry & Technology Development Association).According to Wang, Asahi Glass Co. (AGC) of Japan has solved problems in lowering the defect-free rate for the production of fifth- and sixth-generation (5G, 6G) glass substrates, and is expected to tap the market with products with higher price competitiveness in 2006 to grab more market share in the 6G substrate businessIn addition, Wang added, the aggressive capacity added by both Corning of the U.S., the world's No. 1 substrate supplier, and AGC, the No. 2, will lead to price drops for glass substrates and will especially benefit TV panel makers such as AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. (CMO) in TaiwanCurrently, Wang pointed out, a 6G substrate is priced at about 27,000 to 30,000 Japanese yen, about 1,000 to 2,000 yen lower than in the third quarter of 2005.

Add new comment