French firm Veolia has pledged a £750 million vote of confidence to the UK, with 600 jobs expected to be created in the country over the next five years.
The deal comes as a welcome sign of business confidence in the UK in the wake of the country’s vote to leave the European Union.
The water and waste management company said that it is still seeking reassurance from the government about its commitment to green energy after the Brexit vote as part of the group’s investment plans include schemes to produce heat and low carbon electricity from waste material.
Head of Veolia in the UK, Estelle Brachlianoff, said that she is anxious for energy policy clarity from the UK government, although the EU referendum result has not made the British market any less appealing.
Brachlianoff added: “Everything was thrown up in the air [by the Brexit vote] so I’m looking for reassurance that the government is going to keep the same direction of travel on green energy.”
New Prime Minister Theresa May has made the decision to merge the Department of Energy and Climate Change into a bigger business ministry to be led by Greg Clark, which has caused uncertainty in business circles.
However, the decision from Veolia to continue with its investment drive in the UK despite political uncertainty is to be seen as a confidence boost for the country after mixed signals about the referendum result’s economic impact.
On Friday, the closely watched Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ survey of activity in the manufacturing and services sectors showed its sharpest drop for seven years. Meanwhile, a Bank of England regional agent’s survey had early reported that there were “no clear signs” of a slowdown.
Included in Veolia’s plans are a new agreement with Hertfordshire Council to construct a 33MW waste-fired power station in Rye House, north of London, which is set to cost around £270 million.