Hope of glass jobs shattered

Plans to set up the textbook sustainable enterprise - creating 200 jobs converting contaminated waste into recycled glass on a brownfield site in a deprived area - look to have collapsed.

The site in Cardiff Bay, South Wales had formerly been used by CRT tube manufacturer, Nippon Electric Glass, but has been abandoned for some time.

Recycled glass specialists Vitrium had wanted to take on the former industrial land to set up the UK's first commercial vitrification plant providing jobs for 120 workers from the outset and plans to expand operations to employ over 200.

The process proposed by Vitrium is favoured by environmental groups because of its ability to completely eliminate contamination and produce an environmentally safe glass product which can be made into building aggregate, cement and even tiles and kitchen surfaces.

But the site now looks set to be sold to a property developer, with the land used for housing and possibly warehouses with limited local employment.

Vitrium chief executive John Evans said: "This is a great disappointment. We have been in talks with NEG since the end of last year and we were hopeful of a positive outcome.

"We had planned to provide employment opportunities for some members of staff affected by the closure of the NEG operation. A great number of people have been in touch with us about job vacancies in case the deal had gone through.

"However, NEG have approached the property market, where they will be able to receive significantly higher offers for the land than we have been able to raise.

"We have not given up hope completely, but we are not optimistic. It would take a lot of support from MPs, local government and the local community to change NEG's mind."

Vitrium had hoped the South Wales plant could be the first showpiece plant out of six sites to be developed across the country.

The company is also looking at a number of 40-acre brownfield locations in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and the North Midlands.

by Sam Bond


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