Energy Minister Visits Proposed Marine Energy Park Site at North Killingholme, UK

Renewable energy minister Charles Hendry believes green energy development in our area could leave a legacy of a vibrant area, halting years of decline.

The senior MP came to the South Bank, meeting business leaders and touring the site of the proposed £400-million Marine Energy Park at North Killingholme – a deep water facility that would be the biggest in Europe and form the core of the Humber cluster in years to come.

Last month the logistics park element was given the go-ahead, and now Able UK – the company behind the 2,000 acre scheme which features a 1,300m vessel berthing quay – has confirmed it is working towards an August 31 submission to the Infrastructure Planning Commission for the deep water facility.

Mr Hendry said: “There is no doubt it is a very important site, and a critical port for offshore wind infrastructure.

I knew quite a bit about it because Martin (Vickers), Andrew (Percy), and Nic (Dakin) have been very assiduous about raising it in Westminster. It has been my aim to go around the country and see for myself as I cannot explain the opportunity for Britain if I haven’t seen what is available.”

Asked about the opportunity of realising it within the timescale of the major Round Three wind farm developments – much of which is in the North Sea with the Humber central to a trio of mammoth farms, Mr Hendry said: “It is a commercial decision. What is clear is that it is one of the best river locations, it has a tremendous advantage with the proximity of the development to the offshore wind sites, and there is a large amount of business support.

“This is an area where we have a window to make the absolute most of when it comes to developing a UK supply chain for the offshore wind industry. Not just turbine manufacture, but blades, pylons and jacket manufacture too. This is an area where we could see a lasting legacy. This is a part of the country which has to a certain extent been in long term decline, and can become extremely vibrant with high-skilled jobs being created.”

Mr Hendry had earlier been in talks with Able UK, North Lincolnshire Council, the area’s MPs, Humber Local Enterprise Partnership chairman John Clugston and Tata Steel site director Sean Lyons, with others.

Peter Stephenson, executive chairman of Able UK, said: “It was a very positive visit. The will is here and the passion and it is all necessary. It is very clear this is going to happen, subject to a positive planning outcome, and the Minister got that message. It is the only river site that can provide for everything, that is what we have got to do to keep costs down, and that is the real benefit.”

Once with the IPC the plan, which outlines potential to create 5,000 jobs, will have a four week consideration period while it is deemed to be in acceptable format. Once clear, Able hope for a decision within nine to 12 months.

We fully expect it to be positive based on the effort we have put in,” said Mr Stephenson, who said the preferred contractors for design and construction were on board.

“We can start construction a month on from the IPC’s hopeful approval,” he added, eyeing up an operational start date of late 2013.”

Martin Vickers, MP for Cleethorpes and Immingham, whose constituency the Marine Energy Park is part of, said: “It was a very welcome meeting. We have now had two senior ministers here in the course ofthe last seven days and it clearly shows northern Lincolnshire is very much on the Government’s agenda. We have clearly demonstrated the Humber’s potential.”

Mr Vickers and Scunthorpe counterpart Nic Dakin used the meeting at The Ashbourne Hotel in North Killingholme to reinforce the need for the A160 upgrade to improve the port’s link with the motorway network, as well as hammer home the barrier that is the Humber Bridge toll.

As reported, Business Secretary Vince Cable visited less than a week ago.


Source: grimsbytelegraph, July 27, 2011;