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DIT officials briefed on Heath Park plan during visit to The Heath

Senior officials from the Department of International Trade visited The Heath Business and Technical Park on Wednesday, November 9th to be briefed on SOG's Heath Park project, as part of a regional tour of science facilities in the North-West.

Simon Sweetinburgh, Senior Advisor to the Minister for Investment — Life Sciences & Innovation, and Bob Damms, Senior Life Sciences Investment Advisor, Venture Capital Unit of the DIT, also met some of leading scientific businesses based at The Heath to hear about their cutting-edge research & development.

SOG boss John Lewis MBE briefed them on the history of the site since SOG took ownership of the former ICI chemicals HQ in 2000 and developed it into one of the UK’s most successful independently owned business and technical parks. The DIT officials were also given a presentation on SOG’s ‘Fields of the Future’ vision for Heath Park, a revolutionary hydrogen-powered food production model that lies at the heart of the overall scheme.

Vertical Farming is a rapidly growing industry worldwide attracting billions of pounds of government and private sector funding and supported by ultra-high-profile individuals such as Elon Musk. However, research conducted by the SOG team recognises there are a number of issues in the current approach to Vertical Farming which urgently need addressing including the huge amounts of energy required to power the current trend of vertical farms situated in large peri-urban warehouses on Greenbelt Land, impacting negatively on biodiversity and the ability of that land to absorb CO2.

Consequently, the Heath Park team has been working in partnership with respected Vertical Farming specialist Dr Paul Myers of Liverpool’s Farm Urban to develop a ground-breaking new net zero model of food production called ‘Field of the Future’. Essentially, Field of the Future can be developed into a network of interconnected small to medium scale vertical farms (1000 — 5000 M2) supplying at a local level and powered by clean energy.

A 5000 square metre Field of the Future based at Heath Park, using 10% of the water normally required, no pesticides and freeing land for rewilding, could supply healthy leafy greens for the Heath Park Community and a four-mile radius beyond.

SOG believe the Heath Park model will revolutionise Vertical Farming methods and wants to collaborate with Government in a feasibility study across the Northwest in parallel to getting the first (Heath Park) Field of the Future operational. This study would assess 10 suitable locations to operate Fields of the Future along the HyNet hydrogen supply pipeline network which will run from Stanlow, Cheshire to Greater Manchester.
The Heath Park vertical farming model could be replicated nationally and globally wherever there is access to renewable energy sources.

About SOG Group
SOG Group is one of the UK's top independent operators of business and science parks and are renowned site regeneration specialists. SOG own The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn, Cheshire, which is home to over 120 individual businesses that between them support the employment of around 2,000 people. Using The Heath business model, SOG created a consultancy operation under the name of 'Fusion'. SOG's Fusion team spearheaded the regeneration of a massive site in east London, formerly home to a global pharmaceutical company, where it created Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park. Until February 2019, SOG operated Londoneast-uk as a sister Park to The Heath before selling it to a company owned by the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. Through its Fusion concept, SOG helped to generate over £2 billion of inward investment to the Dagenham site regeneration programme. SOG's Runcorn operation is a unique example of how a successful science and technology park should operate. Many of the organisations located in the facilities are at the very cutting-edge of scientific R&D, with firms specialising from nanotechnology to carbon emissions research and from pioneering work on hip and knee joint replacements to water and waste-water treatment technology. As The Heath site has reached full capacity, SOG has embarked on a new build-programme which allows existing fast-growing resident businesses to move out of multi-occupancy units into their own exclusive bespoke buildings, designed and built by SOG's team.

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17th November 2022