The FINANCIAL — The European Investment Bank, Europe’s long-term lending institution, on February 11 confirmed significant support totalling GBP 432 million for new investment in education and energy schemes in the north-east and Yorkshire.
This includes GBP 100 million to underpin Newcastle University’s capital development programme, GBP 250 million for investment by Northern Powergrid and GBP 82 million to connect the Westernmost Rough windfarm to the national electricity network, according to EIB.
“Long-term investment is crucial to unlock economic opportunities, build on regional strengths and improve key services. The European Investment Bank has supported key projects across the North-east and Yorkshire over more than 40 years, such as Kielder Water, Nissan in Sunderland, the Green Port in Hull and Hitachi’s new European train manufacturing plant in Newton Aycliffe, as well as schools for hundreds of children in North Tyneside, Northumberland, Gateshead, Sunderland, County Durham, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton on Tees. Today’s visit allows me to see exciting projects supported by the EIB at Newcastle University and with Northern Powergrid at first hand and to explore fresh opportunities for future EIB engagement in the region.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for UK lending.
The 30 year GBP 100 million loan, the EIB’s largest ever loan for a UK university outside London and the south-east, will support Newcastle University’s capital investment over the next four years, including the re-development of Richardson Road student accommodation, the £58m Urban Sciences Building on Science Central, refurbishment of the Armstrong building on the main university campus, and the £40m National Ageing Science and Innovation Centre.
The announcements were made during a visit to Science Central by a delegation from the European Investment Bank, the world’s largest international public bank.
Part of the loan will be used in the transformation of Richardson Road student accommodation, with existing flats being demolished and replaced by six new accommodation blocks. The European Investment Bank earlier announced a new GBP 250 million long-term loan to upgrade electricity distribution infrastructure, improve flood defences and reinforce Northern Powergrid’s network to enable a smarter electricity distribution to 3.9 million homes and businesses in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.
Lending by the European Investment Bank last year totalled GBP 5.6 billion and represented the largest annual engagement since the start of EIB lending in the UK in 1973. This supported nearly GBP 16 billion of overall investment in 40 projects across the country. The European Investment Bank is directly owned by the 28 European Union member states, including a 16% share held by the UK government.
Lending in 2015 supported construction at 77 schools, including 12 in the north-east, 5 university campuses and 4 hospitals, upgraded energy links and backed renewable energy projects, strengthened water infrastructure with 5 of the largest water providers in the UK, improved broadband access in rural areas and will benefit millions of commuters at two of London’s busiest stations.