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Third crossing would 'reduce' offshore jobs growth, says report

PUBLISHED: 13:04 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:30 31 May 2019

A report on the future of the Port of Lowestoft says the Lake Lothing Third Crossing would have a negative impact on offshore wind employment. Picture: ABP

A report on the future of the Port of Lowestoft says the Lake Lothing Third Crossing would have a negative impact on offshore wind employment. Picture: ABP

Archant

The construction of a third crossing in Lowestoft would have a detrimental impact on offshore wind employment, according to a new report.

East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm progression at the end of 2018. Picture: Antony KellyEast Anglia ONE offshore wind farm progression at the end of 2018. Picture: Antony Kelly

Associated British Ports (ABP) has revealed its 17-year vision for the growth of the Port of Lowestoft, an increasingly key asset to the offshore energy sector.

The 'Port of Lowestoft Master Plan' outlines how the port will continue to support developments including the East Anglia One project, set to be the world's largest offshore wind farm.

But Edge Economics, commissioned by ABP to undertake an economic study of the port, has concluded that approval of the long-awaited Lake Lothing Third Crossing (LLTC) would harm job prospects in comparison to a "no-bridge scenario".

Edge estimates that, by 2036 - assuming no crossing is built - offshore wind-related activity could create 1,080 jobs, up from 138 in 2018.

Port director Andrew Harston says the current Third Crossing proposal Port director Andrew Harston says the current Third Crossing proposal "will not safeguard" the Port of Lowestoft's future. Picture: Archant

Assuming the crossing is constructed, however, employment is "expected to grow at a reduced rate" and is forecast to increase to 375 jobs over the same period.

The figures "demonstrate the potential of the LLTC proposal to undermine benefits to the local and regional economies," the report adds.

Andrew Harston, director of ABP Short Sea Ports, said: "ABP has long voiced concerns about the crossing, which will have a negative impact on operations and marine safety if it crosses the centre of the port.

"Whilst we are not against the principle of the third crossing, the current proposal will not safeguard the port's future and the economic prosperity of the region."

East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm progression at the end of 2018. Picture: Antony KellyEast Anglia ONE offshore wind farm progression at the end of 2018. Picture: Antony Kelly

ABP's ports in Lowestoft, King's Lynn and Ipswich contribute £360m to the UK economy every year, supporting 5,300 jobs nationally.

In addition to supporting wind energy, the Port of Lowestoft plays an important role in the oil and gas and agribulk industries.

As its intentions for the future are unveiled, ABP has launched a consultation inviting stakeholders to have their say on the Master Plan until August 16.

"Our plan details how the Port of Lowestoft could develop and what needs to be done to ensure it grows in a sustainable and prosperous way," added Mr Harston.

"The port has a bright future ahead with real development opportunities, not least due to its location opposite major continental ports and excellent links to the UK's transport network."

Submit your comments via lowestoft.masterplan@abports.co.uk.

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