Yorkshire fears for glass jobs as rival readies new factory

Yorkshire glass manufacturers fear nearly 2,000 jobs could be at stake across the region, because of a new glass manufacturing plant in the North West.A row between rival glass makers erupted last year after work began on building a £200m glass factory, owned by Quinn Glass, at a site in Cheshire.

It was feared this factory could bring about the demise of glass manufacturing in Yorkshire, with some claiming it would mean the loss of tens of millions of pounds from the area's economy.

An independent report by Barnsley Development Agency last year stated the new Cheshire plant could lead to the axing of as many as 1,700 jobs from the region. It said it could even mean the closure of some manufacturing operations in the long term.
One glass firm expected to suffer is Knottingley-based Rockware Glass, which has more than 800 employees in Doncaster, Knottingley and Worksop.
Now the matter is to be dealt with at a public inquiry, after the matter was called in by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister earlier this year.
But a spokesman for legal firm DLA, on behalf of Rockware, claims Quinn could be in breach of this because it believes the site – where a furnace has recently been switched on – could have already begun operating.

He said: "We would have assumed with a public inquiry looming the firm would not be allowed to operate, and we are demanding Chester Council and/or the Government step in to halt its operation.

"If it is not shut down, it could be allowed to operate for at least a year before the public inquiry is heard. In that time it could cause irreparable damage to the fragile glass industry in Yorkshire."
The Barnsley Development Agency commissioned the report to look into the probable impact on the region's glass industry of the Cheshire Quinn Glass plant. Besides Rockware, Yorkshire is base for a number of leading glass container manufacturers including Rexam, Allied Glass, Beatson Clark and Stolzle Flaconnage.

However, a spokesman for Quinn last night said operations had not begun and no glass-making was going to be done at the site until the public inquiry had been dealt with. He said the furnace had been fired this week, in order to test it, but the company was still hopeful operations would begin before the summer. He said: "This project has the full support of the local authorities, the North West Regional Development Agency and the Department of Trade and Industry."

Quinn unveiled its plans for a new factory in August 2000, when it applied to Chester Council and to Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council for planning permission to build a manufacturing plant on the site of a former power station at Elton. Earlier this year a further application for the larger plant was granted.

600450 Yorkshire fears for glass jobs as rival readies new factory glassonweb.com
Date: 22 April 2005
Source: Yorkshiretoday.co.uk

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