Following the announcement today that Ardeer, North Ayrshire, is no longer a candidate to host the proposed STEP fusion plant, North Ayrshire Council Leader Marie Burns said:  “While it is clear there will be disappointment for many that Ardeer won’t be home to the fusion plant, there is still much to be positive about.

“We have shown what is possible for a unique location like Ardeer and we know that it remains a prime site ready for the right development.

“We will continue to pursue innovation and investment opportunities throughout North Ayrshire, and this process has demonstrated that our area has much to offer as a desirable location for large-scale investment.

“The experience we have gained working with partners on this project puts us in a strong position for commercial development and very attractive to prospective investors and employers.

“While the STEP plant would have brought significant investment, jobs and training opportunities to North Ayrshire and the west of Scotland, we will continue to explore different possibilities and opportunities for our area.

“It’s important that we don’t lose momentum and it’s clear there is an appetite from national agencies such as Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry among others, to usher in a new era of innovation in our area.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that North Ayrshire will benefit from STEP and the emerging UK fusion energy industry, as part of the large-scale supply chains and advanced manufacturing in not only this but other burgeoning areas such as aerospace and offshore renewables.

“This is most definitely not the end of the road but the start of a new journey.”