Senior peer says Bombardier Belfast can help UK achieve zero emission plane goal

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    Lord Rogan

    Lord Rogan has asked the Government to give Bombardier Belfast a “prominent role” in the production of a new cutting edge zero emission aircraft that Boris Johnson has pledged will be built in the UK.

    Last month it was announced that around 600 jobs would be lost at Bombardier’s manufacturing base in Belfast as the aviation industry continues to face challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    However, speaking in the House of Lords earlier today, Lord Rogan – a Deputy Lord Speaker – said that promises made by Mr Johnson in a speech on Tuesday provided an opportunities for Northern Ireland in general and Bombardier employees in particular.

    He said: “My Lords, taken at face value, I welcome the Prime Minister’s speech and, in particular, his commitment to ‘accelerate projects…to drive economic growth in all parts of the country’ including Northern Ireland.”

    Lord Rogan continued: “I note that Mr Johnson set his Government the goal of ‘producing the world’s first zero emission long haul passenger plane.’”

    He asked Business Minister Lord Callanan: “Can you tell the House what the timescale is for this and whether there may be a prominent role for Bombardier’s Belfast plant in its design and manufacture?”

    Replying, Lord Callanan said he was unable to give Lord Rogan “specific commitments on what the role of Bombardier will be on this matter, but they are a world class aeroplane manufacturer.”

    But the Minister added: “This is an extremely optimistic goal, a long-term goal that the Prime Minister has set out.

    “We are totally committed to making progress towards it, and it would be a tremendous achievement to Britain’s scientists and engineers when we achieve it.”