Massive investment in windfarms off Wirral coast would bring ‘jobs bonanza’
WIRRAL is poised to make major economic gains from a potential Â£15bn windfarm bonanza in the Irish Sea.
Thousands of new jobs are in prospect from a venture to create the west coast’s major hub in the development of the UK’s offshore wind industry, according to a new report by the Mersey Partnership.
But a Wirral Euro MP blasted: “Building wind farms is not the answer to our energy needs and the whole industry is a con.”
Cammell Laird is a key partner (with The Mereyside Partnership, Peel Ports and the Stobart Group) in developing strategies to boost the regional economy and the company’s business development manager David Williams forecasted: “We can become west coast UK’s Abderdeen for the offshore wind industry.”
He added: “We’re looking at 20 years of investment in the Irish Sea and potential further development off Scotland and Ireland.
“There are 100 Merseyside companies with 1,000 workers already involved in the offshore wind industry.
“But there could be up to 500 firms in the North West’s potential supply chain.
“We have the crown jewels of UK wind farm expertise in the Liverpool city region, so it would be crazy to miss out.”
Wirral Council leader Cllr Jeff Green has expressed strong support for the region’s attempts to secure benefits from the wind farm proposals.
He said: “The re-balancing of our economy is a vital challenge and opportunities such as this are hugely important as they have the potential to create a significant number of green jobs, not just in the manufacturing of manufacturing of equipment but also in its ongoing maintenance.
“The geographical location of the Port of Liverpool in relation to the Irish Sea zone three proposals and the infrastructure and skills provided by the likes of Cammell Laird puts us in pole position to be at the forefront of this exciting development.”
Cllr Green said he was confident that Cammell Laird managing director John Syvret and his team had the ability to “secure and deliver future investment in this growth area for the borough.”
Partnership members in the project are convinced that the venture could create thousands of new jobs in the region in the next five to 20 years.
A proposed new multi-million pound River Mersey triple berth at Laird’s is already in the pipline.
It will be used by ships installing and maintaining Irish Sea wind farms.
Merseyside Partnership director of investment Mark Basnett said: “This is an investment on a scale that is enormous.
“It’s not been seen in the UK since the oil boom years of the North Sea oil and gas industry of the 1970s “It is a great opportunity for the Liverpool city region to punch its weight in this fast-growing industry.”
Wirral Council deputy leader Cllr Simon Holbrook commented: “The UK has a massive wind resouorce that dwarfs other markets in Europe and much of the rest of the world. “Cammell Laird is in pole position to capitalise on this market with some of the highest quality port-related infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce and leading edge expertise and facilities in engineering and manufacture.”
However, the project is not without its critics.
Wirral Euro MP Paul Nuttall said plans for Merseyside to become the west coast hub for windfarm development was “folly.”
He said: “Building wind farms is not the answer to our energy needs and the whole industry is a con.
“The subject is driven by EU-led emission targets, which itself is part of the lies told about so-called ‘man-made’ global warming.”
Mr Nuttall, recently appointed deputy leader of the UK Independence Party, added: “The general public will not benefit from Mersey Partnership’s scheme; in fact just the opposite as they will see their energy bills rise and realise the folly of the wind farm industry.
“The view from Merseyside’s coastline is already blighted by these white elephants – the last thing we need is more of them being created.”