Government has issued an open letter to pay tribute to industry for the work it is doing to keep the UK economy going.
Addressing those that work within manufacturing and industry, Rt Hon Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy confirmed that manufacturing is a critical part of the economy and made it clear that there is no restriction on manufacturing continuing under the current rules.
While Government restrictions are paramount, it is essential that key industries, including the chemical manufacturing sector, can maintain operations throughout this challenging time.
“Our country needs your support to keep supply chains moving and key workers mobile, as well as to protect the economy as much as possible. Every business has a role to play in helping the country defeat coronavirus”, said Mr Sharma.
“Many across aerospace, chemical, automotive, steel, aluminium, pharmaceutical, packaging and other sectors, including those providing essential services and materials, have answered the call to action and are playing a direct role in combating COVID-19 by producing the material we need to fight the spread of the virus. I would like to give you all my personal thanks for everything you are doing.”
“I realise this will be challenging for you personally, but you are contributing to the resilience of our nation and I am grateful for the enormous efforts you are making in order to support the UK at this testing time.”
The Chemical industry has deployed the full power of chemistry to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus while maintaining essential operations to continue to serve critical sectors of the UK economy.
Upon receiving the letter, Chief Executive of Industry Cluster NEPIC, Philip Aldridge, said:
“NEPIC is very grateful to The RT Hon Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy for his letter of support for the UK’s Manufacturing industries.
“Mr Sharma makes it clear that the manufacturing sectors, including Chemicals, have answered the call to action and are playing a direct role in combating COVID-19 by producing the materials we need to fight the spread of the virus. Many of the materials produced by NEPIC members are used in the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients, as well as in the manufacture of the vital Personal Protective Equipment needed by our healthcare professionals.
“Mr Sharma emphasises that manufacturing is a critical part of our economy and that there is no restriction on manufacturing continuing under the current rules. This show of support follows a number of trade associations and regional sector organisations, such as NEPIC, working together to emphasise manufacturing’s importance to be recognised at this difficult time.”
Philip Aldridge continued:
“Key industries and sectors such as chemical manufacturing must be able to maintain operations, access critical supplies and transportation systems so that they can supply other sectors and enable the delivery of essential products and services.
“Our industry is particularly vital right now as chemicals enable countless products that are critical in this challenging time.”
“Manufacturing companies across the North East have introduced homeworking to reduce the number of employees traveling to work and interacting with co-workers.
“However, the operation of manufacturing plants cannot be done remotely and requires the day-to-day presence of highly trained personnel. This also includes ensuring access to critical supplies and transportation systems so our industry can continue to produce and deliver essential products.”
“Plant operations have been modified in many ways to introduce additional cleaning and personnel distancing measures.”
The critical role of the North East’s Industry
The North East is home to the largest single cluster of process, chemicals and energy companies anywhere in the UK, and the second largest in the whole of Europe.
The role of the cluster is particularly important today as chemicals enable countless products that will be needed to support good hygiene and treat those who are infected with the Coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead.
Chemical biocides and disinfectants are the active ingredients in cleaning products that eliminate bacterial and viruses on a personal, household and industrial scale.
Single use plastic products and packaging help prevent contamination of food, medicine, personal care and medical products and help prevent person-to-person transmission of disease-causing microorganisms.
Personal hygiene products including nappies, soaps, detergents, toothpastes and other antiseptics such as isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are all reliant on chemicals and chemical production.
Chemicals are necessary to fertilise and protect crops that comprise our country’s food supply and chlorine chemistry is essential to protecting our drinking water.
Plastics and chemicals are vital to keeping medical environments and treatments sanitary, safe and effective, Polycarbonate is necessary to produce syringes, surgical instruments, and IV components and Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used in medical tubing, blood and IV bags.
Furthermore, biocides and chlorine are needed to disinfect surfaces and keep drinking water clean and Polypropylene is a key component of medical-grade personal protective equipment including masks, gowns and goggles.
We supply oxygen direct to the NHS, along with a range of chemicals that serve as ingredients in over the counter and prescription medications.
“All segments of society have a role to play to help limit the spread of Coronavirus and protect public health, especially those who are most vulnerable.
“The chemical industry is making a valuable contribution by applying prudent measures to prevent the spread of infection at our sites, while also maintaining production.”
“Our industry has a high degree of regulation in place to keep its sites and people safe, and this culture is being extended to the Covid-19 recommendations from Government.
NOTES TO EDITOR
NEPIC is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the needs and interests of the chemical-processing sector in the North East of England. Essentially, NEPIC exists to ensure industry in this region thrives – and that there are investments, innovations and a network that will create jobs and opportunities long into the future.
By working closely with member companies, they forge meaningful business relationships that allow them to identify opportunities, facilitate connections, promote collaboration and enable growth. NEPIC also actively work beyond their traditional stakeholder base with universities, research institutes and public bodies to leverage additional value for the sector.