6,000 new jobs claim from wind power is ‘misleading’, say campaigners

Campaigners are concerned over whether jobs promised by the offshore power industry will materialise

Campaigners are concerned over whether jobs promised by the offshore power industry will materialise Picture: JASON HAWKES - Credit: Archant

Campaigners are challenging figures that suggest offshore wind farms will bring 6,000 new jobs to the area – claiming there will be no permanent posts in Suffolk.

The forecast for the growing renewable power industry follows the go-ahead for a number of wind farm developments and others currently seeking consent or expected in the future.

The independent report by Energy & Utility Skills Limited into the industry's future skills and labour requirements suggests it could bring 36,000 jobs nationwide by 2032 with 6,150 of these in the East of England.

But Graeme Murray, chairman of the Anglian Energy Planning Alliance, which is seeking a solution to potential problems from multiple energy projects being planned for east Suffolk, said he feared the jobs would not materialise, despite assurances that they are a "completely credible estimate".

Mr Murray said previous projects had not provided jobs expected and did not believe latest ventures would create permanent posts in Suffolk.

He said: "Suffolk has a nationally low unemployment level but very high level of people living on or below the poverty level. This is acknowledged as being a result of a tourist and agriculture led local economy.

"To promise 6000 jobs in this region is very misleading to those who believe that these are the future prosperity they seek, as we believe these jobs are temporary and in all likelihood not available to unskilled manual workers from our main regional industries."

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Energy & Utility Skills said said employment demand in wind power will be strongest for technicians and engineers. "This represents nearly half of new job creation and reflects the highly-skilled, technical nature of many of the tasks undertaken by the workforce."

A spokesman for New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership said: "We have received correspondence from Mr Murray and have replied to him directly.

"The numbers in the independent report are a completely credible estimate of the number of jobs likely to be created in the offshore sector.

"The numbers relate to projects either under way or in the pipeline so the estimated number of jobs set to be created is based on real evidence and we are confident that both the projects and job numbers will be delivered locally.

"Many of those are set to be highly skilled jobs which add significant value to our local economy."

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