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November 1, 2008 9:22 AM

Newcastle East Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman Greg Stone is backing Shepherd Offshore's plans to establish a renewable energy manufacturing cluster at former shipyard sites on the Tyne.

The Liberal Democrat city council administration has been supporting the scheme by arranging land acquisition deals for council-owned derelict shipyard sites, as part of its regeneration strategy for Walker Riverside.

It is hoped that the facility can attract major investment from international business, stimulating economic development and boosting the UK's position as a renewable energy leader.

Councillor Greg Stone said: "I have been working behind the scenes along with the Lib Dem council leadership for many months to support the development of the renewable energy cluster, and I have met with Shepherd Offshore on several occasions about these bold and impressive plans.

"Together with Lib Dem MEP for the North East Fiona Hall, I am campaigning for additional support from the UK Government and regional agencies, in order to take advantage of EU state aid rules on renewable technologies.

"We want BERR and One North East to take a proactive stance to match Newcastle council's lead, by providing strategic support and supporting inward investment.

"This project is vital for the economic regeneration of the East End, for North East manufacturing, and for the environment, and it is important that all sides pull together on this initiative.

"The benefit in terms of employment and the local supply chain would be huge."