Potential 'green' lifeline could fuel Barnoldswick's Rolls-Royce recovery

A potential lifeline may have been handed to Barnoldswick's embattled Rolls-Royce plant in the form of new green technology.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said he had received a "reassuring and timely expression of support" for Rolls-Royce and its Small Modular Reactor programme from the new Energy Minister, Greg Hands.

Rolls-Royce leads the UK SMR Consortium which is developing a domestic SMR design for potential development in the early 2030s.

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Mr Stephenson said: "As part of my work to safeguard jobs in Barnoldswick, I am working closely with Rolls on its plans to move into SMRs. Some £255m. in government funding has gone towards supporting work to develop SMRs in the UK.

Rolls-Royce, Barnoldswick

"Given recent concerns about our gas supply and the need to move quickly to Net Zero, there’s a strong case that SMRs could play an important role in how we power our energy network in the future.

"The North West is ideally placed to host this and play our role in the green technological revolution."

Mr Hands said: "I am aware that Rolls-Royce is the largest employer in Barnoldswick and important to the local economy in Lancashire.

"While this is a commercial matter for Rolls-Royce, we are continuing to work closely with the company to ensure it can sustain investment in green and cutting-edge aerospace technology that will create new, well-paid jobs across the UK for decades to come."

The Consortium believes that a UK SMR programme can support up to 40,000 jobs at its peak with each SMR capable of powering 750,000 homes.