Residents fear East Thurrock's "jobs boom" is not benefitting local people

An artists' impression of the proposed waste-to-jet fuel centre, bringing more than 1000 jobs to Thurrock

An artists' impression of the proposed waste-to-jet fuel centre, bringing more than 1000 jobs to Thurrock

First published in News

SCEPTICAL residents have raised concerns the hundreds of jobs being created on the banks of the River Thames will not go to local people.

They have spoke out after the Gazette revealed last week how a new waste-to-jet fuel centre on the Thames Enterprise Park would create more than 1,000 construction jobs - and 150 permanent roles - on the site of the former Coryton oil refinery, where 750 jobs were lost just two years ago.

The ecomonic boost follows the opening of the superport last November - and the planned opening of its logistics park in 2015. It’s anticipated the joint venture will create up to 13,000 jobs by 2025.

Yet many residents simply don’t believe the jobs are going, or will go, to people living in the area.

In a lively Facebook debate, Stanford-le-Hope resident James Bayford, said: “Not many local jobs created so far, mostly specialised jobs for people outside the area.”

Lee Connolly, who also lives in Stanford, said: “It would be nice if locals were given first look in on any employment opportunities.”

Neil Saltmarsh, from Basildon, said he’d already been left “frustrated” by the superport.

He said: “I've applied four times, got two interviews and come second on both. I was told I cannot apply for the exact same jobs again. Frustrated.”

Pauline Halverson Newcombe, said: “I'm not actually sure that it was ever said the jobs would be for local people. If I remember correctly, it was put more like jobs created that could benefit the local economy.”

Lisa Reed, another Stanford-le-Hope resident, added: “The port is a business, not a charity, and like any business it will recruit the best candidate for the job based on their individual merits - not their postcode.”

Yet the London Gateway port bosses claim 90 per cent of the 350 people employed directly by the port ‎are from Thurrock, Basildon or Southend.

A spokesman said: “We have positions vacant and we are set to grow by another 100 by the end of 2014.

“In addition, we have about 1,000 people employed on site in the construction sector and many more are to follow.

“We offer excellent training opportunities and have many more people applying than we have positions available, but we encourage people to apply from the local area all the time.”

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East Thurrock jobs boom?

The Gazette revealed last week how British Airways and Solena Fuels have teamed up to build the world’s first centre which will turn landfill rubbish into jet fuel.

Up to 1,000 construction jobs and later, 150 permanent jobs, will be created at the 35 acre GreenSky centre which will be the first business to open on the Thames Enterprise Park - formerly home to Coryton oil refinery - in 2017.

A further 1,800 permanent jobs could be created at the Enterprise Park and the London Gateway superport and neighbouring Logistics Park could employ up to 13,000 people once its fully open in 2025.

And should InterGen find the funding for a gas-fired power station on the site of the logistics park in December, a further 700 jobs could be created.

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Fuel centre is vital for future - expert

AN expert believes plans to build a waste-to-jet fuel centre in South Essex is a very positive step forward in the scramble to find alternative ways of fuelling vehicles and aircraft.

Dr Hassan Shirvani, a professor of engineering and assimilation at Anglia Ruskin University, said that with dwindling supplies of fossil fuels, cutting edge centres like the one British Airways and Solena Fuels are building on the former Coryton oil refinery site will be vital in the future.

Dr Shirvani said: “The first thing is that fossil fuels are predicted to run out in 50 years, so we have to find other forms of energy.

Thurrock Gazette:

Professor Hassan Shirvani

“This is a step in a positive direction. It’s a very good project they are trying to implement. It’s one of those things that once someone does it once, it can be optimised.

“They have perfected this process using plasma torches to create those high temperature environments which is used to break the gas particles up and convert them.”

“These bits of technology have been around since the 1920s, but Solena’s system is very sophisticated.”

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How waste will power jet planes

Solena Fuels have designed and patented a process which will see them crush up old waste into pieces about the size of an inch.

The will then capture the gases the crushed landfill gives off and heat it at between three and four thousand degrees celsius with plasma torces and add other gases which eventually cool to form a thick wax, like crude oil that they can refine into aircraft fuel.

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