Yet another big boost for Tees Valley, while North East looks on

In yet another boost for Tees Valley, the new UK Infrastructure Bank confirmed today that its first investment will be £107 million for the South Bank Quay development at Teesworks, supporting around 800 direct jobs with the potential to unlock thousands more across the site. 

The loan will completely transform part of the former Redcar Steelworks site along the River Tees, creating a 450-metre quay to service the offshore wind sector, providing opportunities for manufacturing, storage and mobilisation of wind technology, the Bank said. 

It added that the project will significantly boost the UK’s capability in this sector, supporting the government’s target to be a world leader for offshore wind by 2035 and the UK’s plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

South Bank Quay is part of Teesworks Freeport, which aims to be the UK’s premier offshore wind hub. It has already attracted global leaders such as GE Renewable Energy, who plan to build a multimillion-pound wind turbine blade manufacturing factory on the site. The quay will play a critical role in the loading out and shipping of these blades to the Dogger Bank wind farm, 80 miles off the coast, according to the Bank.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘It’s great to see the UK Infrastructure Bank is already doing deals and helping deliver on our pledge to level up and reach Net Zero. This is a vote of confidence in the Tees Valley economy and our new freeports that will help turbocharge Britain’s post-Brexit growth’.

Chief Executive of the UK Infrastructure Bank, John Flint said:

“I’m very pleased to announce our first transaction, only four months since our launch and one that fits with our objectives so clearly. South Bank Quay will not only boost economic activity in the region but is a significant investment in the country’s future green technologies’. 

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen said:

“This investment will make the first part of the South Bank quay a reality, which will support GE Renewable Energy’s facility on our site and the thousands of construction and long-term jobs it will create as we drive forward these cleaner, healthier and safer industries.

“It’s also another string to our bow for other businesses looking to locate at the 4.5m sq ft of advanced manufacturing space just next door, which will make us central to the UK’s offshore sector. That this is the bank’s first ever investment is yet another vote of confidence in our region, our innovation and our ability to lead the green and clean technologies of the future’.

The UK Infrastructure Bank opened for business in June 2021 and has an initial £12 billion of capital to deploy as well as £10bn of government guarantees, which will help to unlock investment in partnership with the private sector and public bodies across the UK. 

The Bank’s investment is the second major boost for Tees Valley in a few days following news it is to receive £310m for transport improvements, alongside similar grants for England’s other city regions with devolution deals. Meanwhile, the rest of the North East, which does not have a devolution deal except north of the Tyne, is again overlooked.

On a weekend when North of Tyne Mayor Jamie tries to make the case for a £500m regional wealth fund, for which he can have little confidence of success as government agreement is required – agreement that is unlikely to be granted while the four councils south of the Tyne continue to resist a devolution deal, as they have for five years – Tees Valley gets £417m in just a few days.