Future of the yards: What next for Govan

IT has always been the yard with nine lives.

Loading Comments
Share
Print
Community leaders have backed Govan's future as a shipbuilding centre
Community leaders have backed Govan's future as a shipbuilding centre

Fairfield in Govan has survived threat after threat, somehow finding just one more order as other Clyde ship-builders closed down.

Even as BAE Systems signalled that it sees the best future for warship manufacturing at Scots-toun, many still see some kind of future for the site.

Company executives have already held talks with council leaders, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Govern-ment about Govan.

Their priority? Retaining some kind of manufacturing at the site.

Charlie Blakemore, BAE Systems business and transformation director, said: "We have talked all the politicians through the plans.

"We have had good conversations with Finance Secretary John Swinney, he can see what we want to do.

"BAE has a great track record of bringing other work in to facilities. It might be from our group, it might be external.

"We would be working closely with every local authority to maintain this as a manufacturing site."

Labour politicians, including Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson and Anniesland MP John Robertson, have already signalled they would accept Govan clos-ing to ensure shipbuilding on the Clyde long term.

They and other city figures believe Govan may have an industrial future - but few are prepared to bet on a return of civilian shipbuilding to the site.

LABOUR member and GMB shop steward at the site John Dolan has set the tone for the party's response.

He said: "A lot of tears will be shed by people who have been working in Govan for a long time and people who work in Scotstoun too.

"We would love to be in a position that there was enough work to keep both yards open. But history moves on."

Labour's SNP rivals are also cautiously welcom-ing of the Scotstoun frigate factory - and the £200million investment and job security it entails. But they don't want to see Govan abandoned.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "As a Glasgow MSP with close connections to Govan shipyard I am deeply upset at any suggestion Govan won't form part of the future plans.

"Shipbuilding is not just the physical manu-facturing capacity but it is so important to Govan and its history."

AND she went on: "It will be a hammer blow if it was to be closed. I hope it is still open to discussion.

"Longer term if the plan is to centralise ship-building at Scotstoun there is an absolute requirement to make sure the Govan facility is safeguarded. My pref-erence is to see Govan shipyard continue."

Right now BAE Systems is focusing on how best to deliver its coming Type 26 contract. But it does have other defence work at Govan, including some patrol vessels that will see the yard through to 2018.

The firm stresses this means there will be no sudden death for Fair-field, owned by infra-structure giant Clydeport.

The UK Government and BAE Systems will announce the future of the frigate contract - including whether the Scotstoun frigate factory will get the final go-ahead - late this year.

That, the company says, gives years to come up with an alternative use for Fairfield if necessary.

"We are having these conversations as early as we can," said a BAE spokeswoman at the Govan yard. "We have work till 2018 here. We are expecting to be in a posi-tion to have decisions on the frigates at the end of this year, which gives us a four-year window even if we're going to a single site.

"That is fantastic investment and good news for Glasgow."

Business insiders aren't convinced the Govan yard is guaranteed to make ships after 2018.

But they could see its facilities, including soph-isticated laser systems for cutting metal and modern docks, used to make something else.

Could this, they ask, be the base for the long-promised Scottish boom in making equipment for offshore energy?

Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

151062

Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
            Michelle McManus            
                       

Michelle McManus

                       

Sussed in the City

                       

What Robert De Niro and my mum have in common

           
Free swim at a Glasgow Club pool for every reader - Click here

Entertainment

Lifestyle

Wedding
Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.

                Games news:                
                               

Putting the world to rights

                               

Gail's Gab

                               

Embrace the sun but be careful

               
Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat Cubie’s job is to find and share with you the fabulous things the city has to offer, from gigs to gastro.