March 31, 2020 @ 16:20 by Steven Hugill
A North East chemicals firm has opened a hand sanitiser manufacturing plant to help fight coronavirus.
Ineos’ factory, based at an existing site in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is expected to produce one million bottles of sterilant every month.
Bosses say the sanitiser is already being issued free to the NHS, with plans in place to supply pocket bottle versions for personal use.
The factory’s opening comes after bosses unveiled a blueprint last week to build a sanitiser production base within ten days.
A further production plant in Germany has also begun manufacturing, with proposals being drawn up for a third site in France.
Ineos is making its sterilant from raw materials it already produces for other operations at bases in Scotland and Germany.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos founder and chairman, said: “I am extremely proud of the team who have built these two major production facilities in literally a few days.
“I believe these hand sanitisers will play a key role in the fight against the coronavirus and will help protect our NHS front line staff who deserve all the help we can give them.
“Now that production of the hand sanitiser has started, we are working on the fastest way to get them to where they need to be.
“I am confident that within a few days our sanitiser will start to be seen in hospitals, surgeries and people’s homes.”