The NSG Group announced on 14 April a £36M investment in an off-line coating facility at Pilkington Park, adjacent to its Cowley Hill site in St Helens. The Group, which acquired Pilkington plc. in 2006, is already a substantial employer locally and the investment will create 50 skilled jobs and expand the company’s successful Apprenticeship scheme.
An award of £5M towards the project has been made by the Regional Growth Fund; a Government scheme to boost growth in the private sector. The first round of these investments was announced on 12 April.
The coating line will become operational in October 2012 and will enable the company to provide customers with high-performance low-emissivity glazing products, complementing its well-established and widely-used Pilkington K Glass™, as well as solar control glass.
David Pinder, Managing Director, Building Products UK & South Europe said: “We are delighted that the Government is supporting us in making this investment. It is excellent news, not only for our company, but also for the local community. The new line will allow us to widen our range of high-performance coated glasses, enabling our customers to meet and exceed UK building energy-saving regulations. Local UK manufacture of some products we currently import from our plants elsewhere in Europe will help reduce transport costs and environmental impact, in line with our Sustainability agenda”.
Bob Hepworth, Director of Urban Regeneration and Housing, St Helens Council confirmed: “The investment strengthens the long-term future of float glass production in St. Helens. It also underpins the City Region’s low carbon strategy. This very significant amount of funding is a tremendous boost both to the company and to the economy of the town.”
UK Building Regulations have been gradually tightened since 2002, mandating the use of low-emissivity products in new and replacement windows in homes. The new coating line will manufacture improved products to meet tighter regulations in future. The wider range of products will satisfy an even broader range of customer and market-specific requirements. It is estimated that installing energy-efficient windows in all UK homes could reduce national CO2 emissions by 10 per cent and domestic energy expenditure by 10 per cent - saving in excess of £2 billion per year.