IKO plc has begun construction work on a 470,000sq ft PIR insulation factory in Cambridgeshire.

The roofing, waterproofing and insulation product manufacturer held a 'Spade in the Ground' event on 10 March to mark the beginning of the new site, which is being built at the Alconbury Weald development in Cambridgeshire.

The new factory represents a £30m investment by the company, and is expected to create up to 160 jobs in the area, making a significant contribution to the local community.

Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon, together with councillors and IKO representatives, attended the event.

"I'm delighted to mark the start of construction of the new IKO enertherm insulation factory with an event which involves key members of the local community," said Andy Williamson, IKO UK group managing director. "We're a global business that's about supplying local communities. The development of this plant is a great example of UK manufacturing."

When fully operational, the Alconbury plant will produce insulation for around 40,000 homes a year in the UK. The majority of the product manufactured on the site will be sold into the UK market, with a small amount being exported into Europe.

This, IKO believes, will have a major impact on helping the government achieve the Climate Change Act's current target to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. By manufacturing the insulation boards in the UK, the factory will also help reduce the environmental impact and cost of importing materials from abroad.

Mr Williamson continued: "IKO has achieved the highest standards for environmental management (ISO 14001) and BES 6001 for responsible sourcing of construction products on three of our existing UK factories. The new factory will operate to these standards too, an excellent example of how the construction industry is taking a lead on environmentally-friendly manufacturing."

Construction of the factory is due to be completed in September 2017, with product being produced there from early 2018. An official opening is planned for March next year.

Pictured, from left: Robin Butler (Urban&Civic managing director), Jonathan Djanogly (MP, Huntingdon), Andy Williamson (IKO PLC managing director), Roger Harrison (Huntingdonshire District Councillor), Robin Howe (Executive Leader, Huntingdonshire District Council), Karl Gasson (chairman, Stukeleys Parish Council).