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SCOTLAND: Launch of green fuel project - Wallace

March 25, 2004 12:00 AM

An innovative new project in North Lanarkshire which will produce clean, green fuel from used fats and oils was launched today.

Announcing Executive funding for the project, Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace said that Scotland has the potential to become a world Leader in the new 'green' economy of the future.

Argent Energy's new plant at Newarthill near Motherwell will use animal fat and recovered vegetable oil for the production of renewable energy and biodegradable fuel. The project will create 16 new jobs and help to safeguard a further 67 jobs at an existing plant.

The Executive has supported the £15 million project with a Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) offer of £1.2 million. The company has also received assistance from Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire. Construction on the site has already begun and the facility should be operational by early 2005.

Visiting Argent today, Mr Wallace said:

"This project is the type of development our economic strategy is designed to bring about - a dynamic business with new high value jobs, cutting-edge technology and ambitions to become a Leader in its field.

"This will bring clear benefits for both Motherwell and for Scotland. As well as creating 16 full-time jobs at its new facility, Argent expects to safeguard 67 jobs at its existing William Forrest rendering plant.

"I am particularly pleased that RSA, and Scottish Development International, have played their parts in bringing this to fruition."

He continued:

"Scotland has the potential to become a world Leader in the new 'green' economy of the future, and to create jobs across a range of sectors, including recycling, renewable energy and the development and manufacture of cleaner technologies.

"The Biodiesel product has the potential to deliver significant environmental and economic benefits, and is expected to provide 5 per cent of Scotland's diesel needs.

"We are committed to working with Scottish business and others in developing a Green Jobs Strategy to drive this process forward. We hope to consult on this in the coming weeks.

"I hope that other Scottish companies will join Argent in grasping these exciting opportunities."

The new plant will be capable of producing 50 million litres of Biodiesel annually, providing an alternative source of fuel for transport. It will provide a safe and effective means of disposing of used cooking oils, and is also a waste disposal solution to the imminent EU ban on using used cooking oils in animal feeds.

Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) is the main national scheme of financial assistance to industry, helping to create and safeguard jobs and encourage investment in the Assisted Areas of Scotland.

Payments of RSA are made in instalments, typically over several years, provided that job and project expenditure targets are met. The amount quoted above represents the maximum grant potentially payable if the project is satisfactorily completed, and not the amount actually paid to date. Job numbers are based on firms' forecast figures at the time a grant is offered, and are subject to change.

In October 2001, "Scotland: A Global Connections Strategy", was launched as part of the Scottish Executive's guiding principles for the Enterprise Networks, "A Smart Successful Scotland." It set out a radical new approach to Scotland's international economic development, focusing on how we support Scottish knowledge out to world markets and attract knowledge from overseas for exploitation in Scotland. It replaced the former inward investment group Locate in Scotland, and the former export promotion group, Scottish Trade International with a new unified international economic development department, Scottish Development International, which is jointly operated by the Scottish Executive and Scottish Enterprise.