Category Archives: Construction

Industry broadly welcomes Budget announcements

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Construction stakeholders respond to Philip Hammond’s 2017 Autumn Budget.

Eddie Tuttle, associate director for policy, research and public affairs at the CIOB, said: “The various packages of funding to support the building of more homes – and importantly higher quality homes – is welcome. But it’s not clear how the £44bn of capital funding, loans and guarantees to support the housing market will be spent.

“Underwriting borrowing and giving housebuilders guarantees is no substitute for delivering high-quality, affordable homes of all tenures.

“We are pleased that the chancellor has listened to the industry on skills provision: research has shown that labour supply has been the biggest source of capacity constraint for the construction industry over the past 15 years.

“Boosting the quality and quantity of the construction labour force is critical to deliver the homes and infrastructure that the country needs, so the £34m construction skills fund is a welcome policy. However, this will need to be bolstered in the future and further supported by the private sector given that a fifth of the construction workforce is due to retire in the next decade.

Tuttle added: “Finally, the CIOB is delighted to see that £170m has been provided over the next three years for innovation to transform productivity in the construction sector.”

John Hicks, director and head of government & public at Aecom, said: “With Brexit looming and growth forecasts down it’s clear to see that the chancellor is keen to reassure the industry and businesses like Aecom that the government will provide stability through this uncertain period.

“However, saying you understand business’s concerns and actually allaying those concerns are two different things and while we welcome much of today’s budget it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered.”

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said, re land banking: “As has been proved by numerous independent investigations in the past, house builders do not land bank. House builders have nothing to fear from a review of land banking and if it identifies non-house builders who are sitting on land and brings that forward for development it would be a positive move.

“Any review should also focus on why so many plots that some suggest are in a builder’s ‘land bank’ are mired in the planning system and identify ways to process them more quickly so they can actually be built.”

And generally, Baseley said: “300,000 homes a year is an ambitious target and will require further improvements in the policy framework and business environment to allow the sector to deliver. There is no silver bullet that will deliver a step change in supply but government needs to continue to develop policies that will build on the big increases in supply of recent years.

“The measures announced today will assist by stimulating demand and helping broaden the supply base of new homes. But much more needs to be done, in particular with regards to the planning system, if the target is to be met.

“Government needs to continue to help big builders whilst introducing policies that allow SME builders and specialist providers alongside the affordable housing sector to they can play their part in building the homes the country needs

“The number of SME builders has collapsed in recent decades so more money for SME builders is welcome and needs allocating quickly. The planning system remains a significant constraint on the industry’s ability to deliver and improvements are positive, though further proposals form the White Paper need bringing forward.

John Woolley, construction partner at law firm Dentons, commented: “With Brexit looming and concerns growing about current and future labour shortages and skills gaps, the proposals for training and education are welcome – particularly on digital skills.

“However, the promised investment is limited and will do little to comfort HR teams in the short term. That said, the chancellor’s proposals should reinforce the importance of lifelong learning. As well as ensuring new entrants to the industry are suitably skilled, it could enable older workers to retrain or enhance their skills thereby keeping them – and their extensive experience – in the workforce for longer.

“Developing a stronger, more skilled workforce is essential both in the run up to Brexit and for dealing with changed market conditions thereafter.”

Jonathan Goring, managing director of housing developer Lovell, said: “We welcome the measures announced by the chancellor to get more homes built and assist more people into home ownership. We’re encouraged by the focus on unlocking development on potential housing sites that are now lying empty.

“Our own research, highlighted in the recent Localis report, suggests this could play an important part in tackling the under-supply of new homes. We’ve particularly drawn attention to the amount of public land that’s unused, which is a big issue for the wider business.

“Much is in areas of high housing demand and could provide sites for the new homes that are so urgently needed. We very much hope that Oliver Letwin’s review will also investigate this issue.”


Growing interest in construction careers – survey

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The popularity of construction as a career choice seems to be growing, according to a new survey, with more than one in four young people giving the sector top marks for attractiveness.

The report, Changing Perceptions: the growing appeal of a career in construction has been produced by the CITB and is based on a survey of 1,000 young people, 500 parents and 800 guidance career professionals.

A total of 28% rated construction between 8 and 10 in terms of attractiveness, more than double 2016’s 13%, and a significant rise from just 3% in 2015.

However, results also show that a limited knowledge of the sector among guidance professionals persists along with a tendency to encourage lesser qualified people into the industry.

Encouraging statistics show that young people’s knowledge of the industry has increased and they have a greater awareness of the breadth of roles in the sector. They are also more likely to see a construction career as well paid and an increasing number agree that the sector offers as many jobs for women as men.

Other findings include some of the challenges that may hinder recruitment into construction. These included:

Only 45% of advisers declared themselves confident in providing advice on construction careers.

Careers guidance professionals were more likely to give construction careers advice to those with lower qualifications than graduates and those with at least four A-levels – a consistent trend since 2014.

Two out of five (41%) school students were told by guidance professionals that a degree would be more beneficial in the long term than other qualification. Among 18-year-olds, more than half (51%) were advised that a degree offered better prospects.

Two thirds (67%) of male respondents said they would consider a construction career compared to only a third (34%) of females.

Safety was also a concern for young people, with 46% raising this as an issue.

The survey found that career guidance professionals would welcome increased engagement with the sector to help them develop their knowledge of construction. The number of guidance professionals working directly with local employers was up for the fourth year in a row rising to 53%.

Steve Radley, director of policy at CITB, said: “This report shows that perceptions of construction careers are improving. With modern methods of construction emerging fast, the time is right for industry to work together to start bringing new people into the sector.

“Our skills needs are changing and our recruitment drive must present construction in a new light. As an industry, we need to take advantage of this growing interest and do more to support careers guidance professionals and schools if we are to further our reach.”


Slow housing developers should face penalties

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Developers that fail to swiftly build properties when planning permission is in place should face stiff penalties, the Local Government Association says.

Council tax should be paid on homes not built before initial planning approval expires, said the body representing English and Welsh councils.

It said 475,000 homes with planning permission were not completed in 2014-15, but councils were not to blame.

The government said building had started on more than half of these.

The LGA said that in 2012-13, the total of “unimplemented planning permissions” was 381,390, but in 2013-14 it was 443,265, rising to 475,647 homes in 2014-15.

Peter Box, the LGA’s housing spokesman, said the figures proved the planning system was “not a barrier” to house building.

“To tackle the new homes backlog and to get Britain building again, councils must have the power to invest in building new homes and to force developers to build homes more quickly,” he said.

“Councils must be given a leading role to tackle our growing construction skills shortage, which the industry says is one of the greatest barriers to building.”

But John Stewart, from the Home Builders Federation disagreed.

He said, “speeding up the rate at which permissions are granted” was one of the keys to “significant, sustainable” increases in house-building.

“Too many sites are stuck in the planning system, with an estimated 150,000 plots awaiting full sign-off by local authorities,” he said.

He dismissed claims that developers were guilty of “land banking” – or holding land in order for its value to increase.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said there had been “a 25% increase in the number of new homes delivered over the past year alone”, saying the government had “got Britain building again”.

“Alongside this we’re working closely with developers to ensure [Britain] has the skills it needs – and saw 18,000 building apprenticeships started in 2014,” he said.

“We’re also directly commissioning thousands of new affordable homes and recently doubled the housing budget.”


UK frackers get more licences to explore

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The Oil and Gas Authority has awarded a raft of new licences to explore for oil and gas on the mainland of the UK.

The 93 licences to explore 159 blocks of land could pave the way for more controversial hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

Large parts of North East and the North West have been opened up for exploration.

There are also licence blocks in the Midlands, the South of England and Wales.

Around 75% of the exploration licences relate to shale oil and gas, which typically requires fracking.

The Oil & Gas Authority said a total of 95 applications for licences were received from 47 companies, covering 295 Ordnance Survey Blocks

Among the biggest winners were Ineos, with 21 licences, Cuadrilla, IGas and Southwestern Energy.

Ineos said it was “committed to full consultation with all local communities and will share 6% of revenues with homeowners, landowners and communities close to its shale gas wells.”

The licences give rights to companies to explore for shale oil and gas, but do not give automatic permission to drill.

Planning permission to build rigs and drill land needs clearance from local or central authorities.

Areas opened up for exploration include land around Chesterfield, Sheffield, Barnsley, York, and Preston, Burnley Bolton, and Chester.

Blocks of land adjacent to national parks including the Lake District, the Peak District and the North York Moors are also now open for exploration.

This week, MPs voted to allow fracking for shale gas below national parks and other protected sites.

This doesn’t mean we’re about to see fracking wells springing up across the UK – far from it.

For a start, the planning process remains incredibly onerous – those companies that have just been awarded licences are embarking on a very long and trying journey.

Indeed many questions remain about whether producing meaningful amounts of shale gas in the UK will be possible.

Despite the government’s best efforts to push through fracking, some experts believe the obstacles are simply too great.


Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “Alongside conventional drilling sites, we need to get shale gas moving… Now is the time to press ahead and get exploration underway so that we can determine how much shale gas there is and how much we can use.”

But environmentalists questioned the wisdom of the government’s policy on fracking.

“The government is ignoring evidence of the risks and the wishes of local communities, by weakening regulation and opening up more of the country to fracking,” said Rose Dickinson of Friends of the Earth.

“Spreading the fracking threat to new areas will only increase opposition to it. Despite having had licences for years, the industry still hasn’t been able to persuade anyone to give fracking the go-ahead.”

Fracking in the UK has encountered some strong local opposition.

Earlier this year, councillors in Lancashire rejected Cuadrilla’s application to drill a handful of shale gas exploratory wells.

There would be too much noise and the impact on the landscape would be too great, they said.

But the final decision will be made by central government.


UK’s coal plants to close by 2025

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The UK’s remaining coal-fired power stations will be shut by 2025 with their use restricted by 2023, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has announced. Unveiling the government’s new energy strategy, Ms Rudd said that relying on “polluting” coal is “perverse”. In a speech later today it is expected she will announce gas will become “central” to the UK’s energy supply. Environmental groups welcomed the move away from coal but criticised plans to focus on gas instead of renewables. Currently, coal provides almost a third (28%) of the UK’s electricity, but Ms Rudd said, “We are tackling a legacy of underinvestment and ageing power stations which we need to replace with alternatives that are reliable, good value for money and help to reduce emissions.”

Ms Rudd is also expected to say that investment in nuclear power is vital to the government’s policy. She believes that plans for new nuclear power stations, including at Wylfa in Wales and Moorside in Cumbria, could provide almost a third of the low carbon electricity the UK needs for the next 15 years. “Opponents of nuclear misread the science. It is safe and reliable,” Ms Rudd will say. The speech comes amid concerns that the UK could suffer from blackouts as a result of short supplies, brought about in large part from the closure of a number of power stations that have come to the end of their working lives. However, National Grid and many experts have dismissed these concerns.

Successive governments have highlighted our energy dilemma – the need to keep the lights on, while cutting greenhouse gases and ensuring energy is affordable for consumers. Today the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd will focus on energy security and keeping prices as low as possible. But for the world’s first industrialised nation to end coal-powered generation sends a strong signal ahead of the UN Climate summit in Paris. All the major parties had signed up to phasing out coal. The previous government’s projections saw it falling to 1% by 2025. The big question is how to ensure gas plants are built to replace it. Only one large plant is under construction today. Another, which secured a subsidy last year, is struggling to find investors.

Concerns have also been raised about the costs to consumers of transforming the energy system to help tackle climate change. The government cut renewable energy subsidies earlier this year, which led some to question the government’s commitment to tackling climate change. However, the BBC understands that the government is not planning to revise its climate change targets. And on renewables, Ms Rudd will warn that subsidies must be carefully focused on technologies that offer the best value for money, fitting into a “consumer-led, competition-focused energy system”. Ms Rudd’s speech comes ahead of the UN summit on climate change in Paris in December, aimed at securing a new climate change agreement, which is expected to include pressure for targets to eliminate global emissions and phase out fossil fuels.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth welcomed the phasing out of coal, but criticised the new emphasis on gas. “Switching from coal to gas is like an alcoholic switching from two bottles of whisky a day to two bottles of port,” senior energy campaigner Simon Bullock said. Greenpeace’s head of energy Daisy Sands also criticised the new strategy. “Launching a new dash for gas and new nuclear is not the solution as it will only lock in more dirty power than we actually need for a low-carbon transition,” she said. The GMB union’s national secretary for energy Brian Strutton welcomed Ms Rudd’s statement but added: “Government needs to get on with addressing the urgent need for nuclear power stations and gas-fired stations to supply reliable power. “The investment will only happen when the framework is right, which it is not now.


Northern Rock mortgages sold for £13bn

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

The government has sold £13bn of former Northern Rock mortgages that taxpayers acquired during the financial crisis. The portfolio is being sold by UK Asset Resolution (UKAR) to US investment firm Cerberus. The deal is thought to be the largest financial asset sale to date by a European government. UKAR was the “bad bank” set up in 2010 to run down loans made by Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley. The mortgages are being sold for £280m above their book value. The government has now sold more than 85% of the assets of Northern Rock, the Newcastle-based lender that collapsed in 2007 and marked the start of the financial crisis.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “We are now clear that taxpayers will get back more money from Northern Rock than they were forced to put in during the financial crisis.” Mr Osborne added: “The highly competitive process, unprecedented scale, and the fact that these mortgages have been sold for almost £300m more than their book value demonstrates the confidence investors have in the UK.” Meanwhile, TSB Bank will buy £3.3bn of the former Northern Rock mortgages and loans from Cerberus. That deal means it will become the mortgage lender to another 34,000 UK homeowners. Customers with former Northern Rock mortgages or loans do not need to take any action and there will be no changes to terms and conditions.

BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed said it was very difficult to judge whether this was a good deal for taxpayers, because calculating the overall cost of the banking bailout was extremely complex. “What people probably want to get to is a more normal situation with banks operating normally, serving their customers in the private sector. This at least is a step in that direction,” he told the Today programme on Radio 4.

The vast majority of former Northern Rock mortgage holders have been unable to switch to a better deal because lenders have not been keen to take them on. Many have been paying a relatively high standard variable rate of 4.79%. Now thousands will be moved to TSB with unchanged terms and rates. However, existing TSB customers get a better deal – paying a variable rate of 3.99% if they took out a mortgage after June 2010, or 2.5% if they had one before then. “[New] customers will of course be able to speak to TSB about the options available to them, as they can do today,” a TSB spokesman said. But there is no automatic switch to a cheaper variable rate.


Nine new prisons to replace ‘Victorian’ jails

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Nine new prisons will open in England and Wales – five by 2020 – under plans to close “Victorian” jails and sell them for housing, the government says. The new sites have not been decided but about 10,000 inmates will be moved in a bid to save about £80m a year. The plans form part of the chancellor’s spending review, due on 25 November. There is speculation that Pentonville in north London might be closed while the Ministry of Justice says Reading, which shut in 2013, is on the market.

Government sources say the prison-building programme will cost more than £1bn. Chancellor George Osborne said many prisons are outdated “relics from Victorian times” that stand on “prime real estate”. He said modern prisons that were better suited to the rehabilitation of inmates would be built instead. New prisons are cheaper to run and easier to equip with the training and work facilities needed to help the rehabilitation of offenders.


In addition to the nine new jails, a prison is currently being built in Wrexham and expansions are taking place at HMP Stocken, in Rutland, and HMP Rye Hill, in Warwickshire. More than 3,000 new homes could be built on the city centre sites of the old prisons, the government said. Grade II-listed HMP Reading was built in 1844. The Treasury announcement of its sale comes just a month after Reading Borough Council was told by the Ministry of Justice that the prison would be retained “in case of contingencies”.

Other possible London candidates for closure include Wormwood Scrubs, Wandsworth and Brixton. Meanwhile, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool are old jails which are known to be very expensive to run.

The MoJ said Blundeston Prison in Suffolk is also up for sale while contracts have already been exchanged for Bulwood Hall, in Essex. Both sites have been closed since 2013. The MoJ said no decision has been made about future development on six other sites already closed – Wellingborough in Northamptonshire; Camp Hill on the Isle of Wight; Blantyre House, Kent; Downview in Surrey, and the former immigration removal centres in Dover and at Haslar in Hampshire. At present, they all remain available in case there is an urgent need for prison accommodation. The MoJ also used its announcement to confirm that the lease on Dartmoor prison, in Devon, would not be renewed.

The feasibility of the government’s plans depends largely on the size of the prison population, which is notoriously hard to predict. There’s no sign that the population is falling – it’s currently 85,884 although it’s not rising as fast as predicted a year ago. As for the closures, it’s been long speculated that Pentonville in north London, which was heavily criticised by inspectors, might be closed. Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool are old jails which are known to be very expensive to run. Dartmoor Prison has already been earmarked for closure. As well as Reading, several jails are currently unused and could be sold off, including Dover, which was until recently an immigration removal centre, and Downview Prison, in Surrey, which was a women’s prison.

The chancellor and Justice Secretary Michael Gove made the announcement ahead of a visit to Brixton prison in south London. Mr Gove said: “We will be able to design out the dark corners which too often facilitate violence and drug-taking. “And we will be able to build a prison estate which allows prisoners to be rehabilitated, so they turn away from crime.

In July, chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick said in his annual report that jails in England and Wales were in their worst state for 10 years, with increasing violence. Responding to the Treasury announcement, shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer said “too many of our prisons are not fit for purpose”. He added: “We have heard similar promises before and the coalition government ended up selling high-performing prisons and increasing pressure on an already over-crowded system.” Prison Reform Trust director Juliet Lyon said, “prison reform isn’t just about building new prisons”. She called on the government to look at increases in sentence lengths, mental health care in prisons, the treatment for drug addiction, and dealing with binge drinking. Mark Icke, from the Prison Governors’ Association, welcomed the plans but said it was important to have a “whole look and whole fresh approach about how we treat people in custody”.

Bank of England dampens prospects of early UK rate rise

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Forecasts for the first change in interest rates since 2009 have been pushed further into the future following the latest reports from the Bank of England. The Bank said that the outlook for global growth had weakened, which was depressing the risk of inflation. Economists think that indicates rates will not rise until the second quarter of next year and perhaps later. The Bank once again held UK interest rates at the record low of 0.5%. The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, led by governor Mark Carney, voted 8-1 to keep rates unchanged. UK interest rates have now remained on hold for six-and-a-half years.

Inflation subdued

In its quarterly inflation report, the Bank of England said “the outlook for global growth has weakened since August”. It blamed emerging market economies for that weakness, saying growth in those regions had “slowed markedly”. While the Bank expects inflation to rise above its 2% target in two years, it says that risks “lie slightly to the downside” during that time period. In other words, inflation may not rise as quickly as the Bank forecasts.

Analysis: Robert Peston, BBC economics editor

Mark Carney gave what many would see as a bum steer in July that interest rates would be going up around the turn of the year. The implication was unambiguous: we should prepare for the end of the era of near-zero interest rates, that has prevailed since early 2009. Well today the Bank of England gave an equally unambiguous signal that the moment of truth for an interest rate rise has been delayed by ten or 12 months, to the latter months of 2016. For City traditionalists, Mark Carney’s predilection for giving so-called “forward guidance”, which seems to date to have habitually gone awry, may have damaged his authority a bit. In what has been dubbed Super Thursday, the Bank released its quarterly inflation report and minutes from its previous policy meeting as well as the latest decision on interest rates. The minutes revealed that for the third month running, Ian McCafferty was the only member of the Monetary Policy Committee to vote for a rise in interest rates.

‘Resilient’ UK

In a news conference, Mr Carney described the UK economy as “robust” and “resilient”. However, the weakness of the global economy, particularly emerging markets, has made the Bank of England cautious about the outlook for inflation. Lower costs for energy, food and other imports are likely to keep consumer price inflation below 1% until the second half of next year, according to the Bank. Economists are saying that the latest reports indicate that the Bank of England remains relaxed, or dovish, over an interest rate rise. “This is a lot more dovish than most people were expecting,” said Paul Diggle from Aberdeen Asset Management. “That magic first rate rise has been kicked into the long grass once again. Only a few months ago, the Bank was saying that inflation wasn’t picking up because of the low oil price. Now it’s emerging markets. You have to wonder what their next reason will be,” he said.

Debt warning

In the news conference, Mr Carney was asked about the continued rise of house prices and unsecured credit growth. He said he was “conscious” of those moves, although he pointed out that standards of lending in the housing market had improved and the number of distressed households had continued to go down. But the Institute of Directors (IoD) said there was cause for concern. “There is genuine apprehension over asset prices, the misallocation of capital and consumer debt,” said the IoD’s chief economist, James Sproule. “Borrowing is comfortably below the unsustainable pre-crisis levels, but with debt once against rising there is a need for vigilance. “The question is, will the Bank look back on this unprecedented period of extraordinary monetary policy and wish they had acted sooner? The path of inaction may seem easier today, but maintaining rates this low, for this long, could prove a much riskier decision tomorrow,” he said.

Spring rise?

Despite that concern, most economists do not see a rate rise until well into next year. Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight said: “The first interest rate hike from 0.50% to 0.75% is still most likely to happen in May 2016 – but the risks now seem to be that the increase could be later than this rather than before it. As things currently stand, an interest rate hike in the first quarter of 2016 looks unlikely”. Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, takes a similar view: “As a result of all today’s announcements, we are comfortable with our view that rates will rise in Q2 next year (and subsequently increase very slowly)”.


UK mortgage approvals fall for first time since May

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

British mortgage approvals declined in September for the first time in four months, but mortgage lending and consumer credit grew at the fastest rate in years, Bank of England data showed on Thursday. Mortgage approvals for house purchases numbered 68,874 in September, down from a recent of 70,664 in August.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast 72,450 mortgage approvals were made last month. Reflecting strong past mortgage approvals and buoyant consumer morale, overall lending grew at the fastest rate since December 2008, powered by robust growth in both mortgage lending and consumer credit. Mortgage lending rose 3.595 billion pounds on the month, the biggest net increase since April 2008, and amounting to annual growth of 2.2 percent — the biggest rise since January 2009. Consumer credit also beat expectations on the month and chalked up annual growth of 8.2 percent, the fastest increase since February 2006.

British economic growth slowed more than expected in the three months to September, and economists are unsure about the extent to which strong consumer demand will offset a weakening global outlook. A survey from mortgage lender Nationwide on Thursday showed house price growth rose 0.6 percent on the month, slightly more than expected. Most housing market data has pointed to renewed momentum in house prices, after a hiatus in the latter part of 2014 due to tighter mortgage regulation. Last month the BoE’s Financial Policy Committee said it expected house price inflation to pick up in the coming months and would be closely monitoring Britain’s so-called buy-to-let market, dominated by small landlords.


AUTHOR:  Andy Bruce and David Milliken

China invests £5.2bn in UK projects

Alexander Tredwell – Leaders in Specialist Professional Recruitment

Chinese investment group SinoFortone plans to invest more than £5bn in the UK. It will invest £2bn in Orthios Eco Parks to develop waste power and food stations, initially at Holyhead and Port Talbot in Wales.

The company also said it would invest in developing an amusement park in Ebbsfleet, Kent. The deals coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Britain that starts on Monday. Development of the amusement park should begin in 2017 and should be completed by 2020, SinoFortone said. The two power plants in Wales will be developed over the next three years, after which the technology will be rolled out to China and developing countries. The modular plants take waste heat from power stations that will be used to warm water for king prawn farming. The UK currently imports king prawns. Other types of seafood, such as Dover Sole, will follow while the process can also be used to help grow vegetables. The system is also designed to capture carbon dioxide emissions. The 299 megawatt Holyhead plant in Anglesey will employ at least 500 people, as will the 349 megawatt Port Talbot plant in south Wales, Orthios chief Sean McCormick told the BBC. Thousands more people will be employed building the plants, he said. In exchange for the investment, Orthios will source between 50% and 60% of the materials and components needed to build the plants from China.

“We have spent five years researching and developing this model and the investment from China will help us roll it out across the planet,” said Mr. McCormick.

“China’s focus on green energy and its ability to take a long-term view SinoFortone Group is a private company that has received support from the Chinese state for this investment. This summer announced a £250m provisional agreement with The London Group to invest in tourist infrastructure in the UK.

“We were impressed with the Orthios professional team and how much research and development they have invested in their unique Combined Food and Power solution,” said Dr. Peter Zhang, SinoFortone chief executive.” Orthios have developed a modular, efficient and scalable deliverable solution for food and power production.

“With us and the Chinese state as their backers, we are confident we can maximize efficiencies and provide a production facility to deliver this solution around the world.”


AUTHOR: Richard Anderson and Vincent Ni