Ambitious plans to develop marine facilities at the Port of Lowestoft have been given the seal of approval.

Earlier this year Associated British Ports (ABP) unveiled its vision for the port, which said it would help create a competitive edge for companies across the Southern North Sea (SNS) energy sector and the wider region.

The five-year plan centred around ABP developing the Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility (LEEF) with the aim of delivering infrastructure to meet the offshore energy industry's demands.

And now ABP has welcomed the news that the Marine Management Organisation has given consent for it’s £25 million development of the LEEF.

This will enable the Port of Lowestoft to support the offshore wind sector in achieving the Government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, and will have a significant economic impact for the region.

Following East Suffolk Council’s approval for the land-side elements, ABP now has the necessary permissions to progress the development.

An ABP spokesman said: "The LEEF development will create more quay side space, and deeper water allowing for three O&M vessels to use the berth simultaneously, as well as new offices and additional facilities for Crew Transfer Vessels.

"This work will be done alongside the retention and improvement of fish landing sites, to continue support of the local fishing industry."

Andrew Harston, regional director at ABP, said: “At ABP, we are proud to be investing boldly in infrastructure to enable the UK’s strategy for decarbonisation and the use of renewable and clean energy.

"With over 30 years’ experience in providing O&M for the offshore wind industry, we are proud to play our part in supporting its rapid growth.

"Not only will our LEEF development support the increased production of more renewable, clean energy but it will also bring hundreds of new jobs, investment and interest in the region.”

With ABP now looking forward to beginning the work on the "state-of-the-art facilities at Lowestoft" next year, work to prepare the LEEF East site is due to be completed by 2023, creating additional berthing space, new infill land, and a deeper harbour approach to accommodate flexible operations.

Around 5,000 square feet of new office space with direct quayside access is also expected.

The LEEF West site forms part of ABP’s Port of Lowestoft Masterplan, providing further development opportunities while retaining fish landing sites.