‘Action needed on offshore energy’

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SCARBOROUGH needs to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities provided by a proposed offshore windfarm.

That was the clear message given to the region’s MPs in Westminster this week and the town’s MP Robert Goodwill has suggested they form a cross-party committee to help the region overcome various barriers preventing this.

The message was carried to the capital by a delegation of local authorities from across the region – including Scarborough Council.

David Archer, the council’s strategic director, said the move received unanimous support from the region’s MPs and it was an excellent outcome.

He added: “Our message was clear – that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the region and we need to make sure that we are prepared to make the most of it. Together Yorkshire and the Humber are aiming to be leaders in this industry.”

Cllr Derek Bastiman, the portfolio holder for strategic planning and regeneration, said: “First and foremost we must ensure that the investment happens and that any investment in UK waters delivers maximum benefits to the UK economy.”

Alex Richards, the council’s project manager for economic development, said that around £100 billion would be invested in the North Sea offshore windfarm and it could create more than 100,000 jobs in the next five to 10 years.

But the UK could miss out if it can not provide enough trained engineers and steps need to be taken to ensure that the existing supply network is fit for purpose.

Mr Richards said it was a massive opportunity for the UK and a massive opportunity to the region. He added: “Scarborough will be well placed through its geographic location – we are adjacent to the Dogger Bank site.”

He said that the area could benefit from providing maintenance services as well as a supply chain for the offshore development. He said: “It’s a matter of ensuring that the industry gets the incentives, commitment and support of the region as well as getting central government to invest in our waters.”

It is expected that the North Sea sites could be completed by 2020 and the council hopes that ports in the area will have a long term future as suitable supply bases for the offshore wind developments for at least 25 years.

There will eventually be a total of 11,000 huge turbine generators, in three areas, with the Dogger Bank site alone covering an area the size of North Yorkshire – or around 3,000 square miles.