Representatives from the UK and international glass industry met in St Helens on 28 February to discuss the next steps for Glass Futures, a national centre of excellence for glass innovation, earmarked for the borough.

The £70m ground-breaking scheme brings industry and academia together in a consortium made up of major glass manufacturers and universities, including Pilkington Glass, British Glass, and the Universities of Liverpool and Leeds – with the aim of putting the UK at the forefront of global glass manufacturing.

In early 2018 St Helens was announced as one of two locations across the UK to become home to Glass Futures, with the mothballed line at the Pilkington Glass Watson Street – home to Pilkington texture glass and Pilkington Profilit – preferred to focus on the “hot” side of glass production. This would see the installation of a large experimental glass furnace capable of producing 30 tonnes of product per day for windows, buildings, bottles and fibre glass.

In December, Government announced a £66m fund for ‘transforming foundation industries’ which would be accessible to the sectors of glass, ceramics, chemicals, steel and cement as well as a £170m fund to support these industries to reduce their carbon emissions. It is likely that Glass Futures will be funded from these sources.

On 28 February, at the symbolic World of Glass Museum, key industry players including Pilkington Glass and academics from Universities such as Leeds and Cambridge met to discuss the final design and operating model, ahead of further discussion with the Government.

David Dalton, Chief Executive of British Glass said:

“We’ve had great support from St Helens Council in developing the Glass Futures project and are looking forward to discussions in the borough this week.

It’s an important project for the whole of the UK glass sector and being able to work with a place that really understands glass is a great advantage.”

The site in St Helens could create around 50 jobs directly, with hundreds of indirect jobs in total.

On 11th March, the preferred site for the £70 million glass facility was announced.

Videos

Cllr Long (Leader of St Helens Council), Steve Rotheram (Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region), Eamonn Mc Manus (Chair of St Helens Economy Board) – 28th February

Announcement of preferred site – 11th March

St Helens: Glass Heritage, Glass futures

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