South West Wilts MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Andrew Murrison dropped in on Avon Protection’s UK base in Melksham on Friday.

During his visit the Minister for International Security took the opportunity to tour the design and production facilities.

With over 120 years experience, Avon Rubber , is an innovative engineering group specialising in respiratory protection, defence and dairy markets. With a strong emphasis on research and development Avon design, test and manufacture specialist products from a number of sites in the USA and UK, serving markets around the world.

Having served for 18 years as a medical officer in the Royal Navy leaving in October 2000 as a Surgeon Commander, Dr Murrison appreciates the value of  personal protection equipment.

During the visit,Sir Richard Needham, non-executive director at Avon ,discussed difficulty of obtaining export licenses with the Minister and the need for prompt processing of licence applications.

He said: “I have previously brought this issue to the attention of both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence.

“This visit has provided an opportunity for the Minister to see the first class design and manufacturing at Avon, which positions us as the recognised global market leader in respiratory protection system technology.”

Speaking at the Melksham site, Dr Murrison said: “Avon Rubber is an important local employer. Like many other businesses across the UK, it faces huge challenges in a difficult economic climate but I know that Avon is confronting these challenges through diversity and innovation.”

Matt Evans, Avon Protection’s commercial director, added: “This Government and all UK Ministers must give their backing to UK exports, especially into places under threat. With that support, UK businesses will have opportunity for growth.”