Shell closing its R&D unit in Cheshire

SHELL is closing its research and development centre in Thornton, Cheshire and relocating 280 employees to other sites around the UK

The company said none of the scientists currently based there will lose their jobs, but they will be moved to other UK sites in 2014.

In a statement, Shell said: “Some of these positions will migrate to London to be in Shell’s Downstream Headquarters while others will remain in the North West. No employees will have to move out of the area and those who prefer to stay in the North West region will be able to work out of offices in Manchester.

“This relocation of employees within the UK follows the decision last year to move the site’s laboratory activities – largely to Hamburg but also to other sites globally – as part of a global review of our technology footprint.”

Long-term, the company’s policy is a blow for the government, which pledged to rebalance the economy away from the City towards high-tech manufacturing and engineering.

But Shell added it “remains determined to retain a long-term research and product development capability in the UK”.