Dundee City Council’s green light for a significant modernisation of the Michelin plant was hailed by the factory’s manager yesterday as a vote of confidence in the company and its employees.
John Reid added: “It is our ambition to repay that approval with a successful, long-term commitment to the area.”
The company, which has been making tyres in the city since 1972, can go ahead with the project to erect major new storage, process, production and office extensions to the south and west of the Baldovie site.
There would be associated access and loading areas, a new security fence as well as pump house/tanks, all with landscaping and excavation works for a flood storage area.
Michelin put its plans on public display in December as part of the pre-planning application consultation to allow the public and other stakeholders to give their views.
Mr Reid continued: “We’re very pleased with the decision and are extremely grateful to the council for its backing.
“This project represents a key part of a strategy to further improve the competitive performance of the Dundee factory. With this permission we can now start working up detailed proposals to help secure the funding we need.
“If we secure the investment, we’re confident that jobs will be created, but it’s impossible to put a number to this at the moment. Clearly, this would be great news for the factory and Dundee as a whole.”
Michelin is one of Dundee’s biggest manufacturing employers, with a workforce of more than 700, and has emerged from some difficult times.
The plant had been earmarked for closure but was granted a reprieve by the French company’s executive board.
It went on to become one of the global tyre giant’s most efficient facilities after an operational overhaul, and has an annual output of around seven million car tyres.
Its future was boosted by the creation of two giant wind turbines to generate electricity for the plant and slash its energy costs in a move that improved its profitability and secured its existence.
The turbines were installed in 2006 and, by generating more than 7m units (kWh) of electricity, they save about 7,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Prospects were further raised when Michelin Dundee received a multi-million-pound cash injection to establish a new production line for the company’s flagship environmentally friendly low-rolling-resistance tyres.
East End Councillor Lesley Brennan said she welcomed the development, which represents a significant expansion of the existing operations.
She said it was good news for her constituents who live just across the Dighty Burn and work at the plant, and very good news for Michelin’s existing and future apprentices.
She added: “More widely, it is very positive news for the Dundee economy that the largest manufacturing plant in the city by turnover and size of workforce is consolidating its presence in Dundee at the Baldovie site. This is good economic news.”
Approval is subject to conditions which are intended to protect the environment of the site bounded by two burns, housing and the green circular cycle path.