Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Low AMPage

Official word on another addition to the Advanced Manufacturing Park on the Sheffield-Rotherham borders, and another sign of an increasing appetite for all things cleantech -
Yorkshire Forward has announced plans to begin construction of its £8.7 million incubator building to support businesses entering the emerging low carbon energy technologies market.
The Environmental Energy Technology Centre (EETC), to be built on land adjoining the Innovation Technology Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, with investment from the European Regional Development Fund, and will support more than 30 enterprises engaged in the development of products that will aid the transition to a low carbon energy economy. Work is expected to start on site in the next month, and be completed by Autumn 2008.
Companies located in the building will be able to tap into the expertise in cutting edge manufacturing techniques and other technologies that exist within the Advanced Manufacturing Park. The EETC is also planned to be the home of the Dti’s Environmental Technology Institute (ETI) should the University of Sheffield’s bid for the ETI be successful later this year.

All good stuff, but hardly a great leap forward for the AMP. As noted in this feature I wrote in 2003, the AMP aimed to attract £650 million of investment from private and public sources by 2007. That hasn't happened. It's got the hub of research centres, and already has a small business centre (sorry, 'innovation technology centre') backed by public money. But the big private sector investment that the AMP was meant to attract is still conspicuous by its absence. Informal word says that's not entirely due to lack of inquiries, but perhaps more to do with issues with the scheme's handlers at Yorkshire Forward. One awaits news to the contrary.

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