Massive jobs boost for Lowestoft

Hayley MaceLowestoft's growing energy industry could be in line for a massive jobs and investment boost after an international manufacturing firm announced plans to build a new factory on the east coast.Hayley Mace

Lowestoft's growing energy industry could be in line for a massive jobs and investment boost after an international manufacturing firm announced plans to build a new factory on the east coast.

German manufacturing giant Siemens revealed yesterday that it is going to develop an �80m offshore wind turbine facility in the UK to meet future demand, which could create up to 700 jobs.

Last night, Waveney MP Bob Blizzard confirmed that representatives from Siemens have visited Lowestoft to look around the port and find out more about the facilities available as a potential manufacturing base.

He said: 'Siemens have visited Lowestoft and the town is being actively considered as one of the possible locations for this project. We are now doing everything we can to put to them the advantages of developing manufacturing facilities in our part of the country.'

Siemens said it was exploring a number of sites on the east coast and in the North East, but would not confirm which towns are in the running for the factory.

Andreas Goss, Siemens' chief executive in the UK, said: 'The new Siemens wind turbine factory will create around 700 new local jobs once it is in production, as well as additional indirect jobs in the supply chain. With the anticipated growth in the renewables market, there is potential for expansion of the facility in the future.

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'This �80m investment, plus additional investment in our UK infrastructure for renewables, will provide a much-needed economic boost for the region, as well as driving growth in the UK's innovative wind power industry.'

Mr Blizzard said: 'This is exactly the sort of manufacturing project we are trying to secure. We have space for such a facility and manufacturing involves so many skills and parts that it would also benefit other towns like Great Yarmouth.

'All in all I think this is a very exciting prospect. We know we are already set up to provide operations and maintenance facilities, but I really think we're in with a great shot at manufacturing investment as well and we have put it to Siemens that there are obvious advantages to developing so close to where the wind farms will be. I'll certainly keep my fingers crossed.'

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is also working to secure manufacturing jobs for the region.

Johnathan Reynolds, EEDA's sustainable development manager, said: 'Offshore wind is hugely important for the east of England. Our region has the right natural conditions and the right skills to lead this growing industry, which will provide new jobs and opportunities.

'EEDA is working hard with partners to attract wind turbine manufacturers to the region and we are developing a manufacturing supply chain to form a powerful basis for future success.'

Siemens already has links with Lowestoft as it has some contracting staff working out of the town's port to support the building and commissioning of the Greater Gabbard wind farm, which is currently being constructed off the coast near Sizewell.

Local demand for wind turbine components is poised to increase with the proposed development of the 1,000 turbine East Anglia Array wind farm off the Norfolk coast from 2020.

Representatives from East Anglia Offshore Wind Limited, which is going to develop the wind farm, visited Lowestoft earlier this year to meet local suppliers.

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