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Leaf will steer region in a new direction.

A NOTE of contentment, mixed with a steely determination, may be heard today when Nissan announces where its new electric car will be built.

The contentment will follow confirmation that the company's plant in Washington will construct the Leaf for the European market.

A large coalition involving the regional development agency, local and central government officials, Nissan's workforce and its management on Wearside worked extremely hard to bring this deal to fruition.

They have every right to feel pleased with themselves today for they have done the region proud.

The determination, meanwhile, results from the knowledge that building the Leaf in the North East - marvellous and valuable though that will surely be - has the potential to be the start of something of even more import.

As the region absorbs the disaster at Corus and ducks beneath the threats to the public sector jobs so many of its people rely upon, a new, low carbon economy beckons like an enchantress.

And today's announcement represents a significant gain in the race to become a global centre of excellence in modern technologies that will be wanted the world over.

It's the beginning of a new era and who knows where it will lead us.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 18, 2010
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