Green Port Hull overcomes planning hurdle

A DECISION to give the green light to a £210m wind turbine factory in Hull has been welcomed.

Plans were yesterday approved for Green Port Hull, a joint development between Associated British Ports and Siemens.

The scheme still requires final approval from Ministers, but it is hoped construction could start next year – potentially creating thousands of jobs.

The project centres on a factory that will put together turbines destined for huge wind farms in the North Sea.

More than 700 people will be employed at the factory, with, it is hoped, thousands more jobs created indirectly through the supply chain.

Mark O’Reilly, director at Team Humber Marine Alliance, the member-backed organisation focused on marine engineering, said the decision represented a significant step forward for the region.

Mr O’Reilly said: “This is an important milestone on what has already been a long journey to create a genuine green energy centre of excellence in the Humber region.

“The final investment decision still needs to be made by Siemens, but as a Humber organisation, Team Humber Marine Alliance and all our member companies wholeheartedly support the company’s plans to build an offshore wind turbine plant in the city.

“Not only will this help to bring extra jobs and prosperity in the relatively near future it will also allow us to further develop an engineering and green energy industry and workforce that can be utilised nationally and internationally. Much work has already been carried to that end, but this decision is a sea change.”

Jonathan Rollison, a THMA director and director at member company Point Engineering, praised Hull Council for its efforts behind the scenes.

Mr Rollison said: “Team Humber has done its bit, but Siemens would not be here if it wasn’t for Hull City Council’s regeneration department. They have done a fantastic job, really taken the bull by the horns, and should be congratulated for how they have continued to progress with this project, doing everything in their power to bring Siemens to Hull.”

Directors of the Renewables Network, which represents more than 250 companies across the green energy supply chain, said the planning approval should be a “wake-up call” for small businesses.

Sam Pick, business development director of the Renewables Network, said: “The approval of the plans for a Siemens wind turbine plant in Hull represents the single, biggest milestone yet in the emergence of the Humber as a renewables hub.

“It is a hugely positive development and a decision the region as a whole, as well as the industry, has been wanting and working towards for many months.

“But the hard work really begins now. The momentum that got the Humber this far, in its rebirth as a centre for green energy, cannot stop.

“The planning decision has to act as a wake-up call to businesses across the area that activity in this industry is well underway.

“Firms need to be even more determined, prepared and clear on their capabilities to grab this historic opportunity and not miss securing a role in the renewables supply chain.”