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Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal launches new £6m thermal energy plant
World First for Leather Industry - making leather without costing the earth

Princess AnneToday, (15 July, 2010), Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, visited Scottish Leather Group to officially open its unique £6m Thermal Energy Plant (TEP) based at its manufacturing site in Bridge of Weir, Glasgow. The plant is a world first in the industry, as the Group continues to lead the way in sustainable low carbon leather manufacturing.
The Group comprises Bridge of Weir Leather Company Limited, Andrew Muirhead & Son Limited, NCT Leather Limited, W J & W Lang Limited, specialist suppliers to the interior and transportation seating industries worldwide and are the largest manufacturer of bovine leather in the UK, employing some 500 people, with a turnover of £65 million.
In 2008, SLG Technology Limited was formed, to provide separate non -leather making activities including IT, health & safety, accounting, insurance, treasury and environmental services.
The Princess was shown around the fully-commissioned TEP which will use the 30,000 tonnes of waste generated by the Group’s subsidiaries to generate approximately 45m kW per year. The power will be used to run the Group’s plant, tannery and factory in Bridge of Weir.
Eight new jobs have been created in SLG Technology Limited, which will operate the plant.
Jonathan Muirhead, chairman, Scottish Leather Group, commented: “Quite simply, this new plant, which has been 10 years in the planning, will allow us to make leather without costing the earth. The process will take waste from our subsidiaries, which previously went to landfill, and turn it into heat and steam which the factory needs for drying leather and heating water. It will also produce oil from the skin grease, which will be used as fuel and the final waste product, a mineral ash, will be sold on to the construction industry.


The continuous investment in technical innovation throughout the Group has moved their manufacturing process from a craft based operation to a technology driven enterprise with their own manufacturing IP. 
Muirhead concluded: “The Government guidelines on waste and landfill are quite clear and there is no point in companies ignoring legislation until it is forced, these issues are not going to go away and we took the decision some time ago to tackle this head on.”
This is the latest ground breaking development for the Scottish Leather Group, which launched a joint venture in September last year, manufacturing leather in China for their growing automotive industry business. 

• Scottish Leather Group is privately owned and was formed in 1965, employing nearly 500 people
• The philosophy of Scottish Leather Group Ltd. is a desire to establish the highest industry standards for quality, innovation, value, service and care for the environment
• Itself a by-product of the meat industry, leather production has traditionally been seen as a high-end consumer of natural resources and fossil fuels.
• The Group has been working, since 2003, on a zero waste strategy which is designed around the Thermal Energy Plant. With experts in environment and sustainability, phase 1 (the design, build and execution of the thermal plant) is complete and work on phase 2 (convert oil to electricity) starts in 2010.
• In 2009, The Group reduced their carbon footprint for the fifth successive year. They have now decreased by 20% and as such, received a Carbon Trust Energy Efficiency Award for their efforts.
• The machinery for the TEP has been sourced mainly from the USA and Germany, with some items coming from UK suppliers. It has been assembled on site by local contractors.
• The Scottish environment is different to the rest of the UK because it is regulated by SEPA and consulted with the local community councils. It’s not the Environment Agency
• Bridge of Weir Leather, where the site is located, has had an operational waste water plant for 10 years
• Scottish Leather Group worked in partnership with SEPA and the community council on the plans for the Plant, ensuring that all environmental responsibilities and regulations were being adhered to
• The plant can process up to 100 tonnes of waste a day