‘Green port’ scheme nearer as councillors back plans

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WORK could begin this summer on a flagship renewable energy plant in Hull that is set to transform the economic fortunes of the Humber.

Plans for the £210m Green Port Hull development, a joint project between Associated British Ports and Europe’s largest engineering company, Siemens, have received backing from East Riding Council following the publication of detailed planning documents.

The council is being consulted about the plans, which go before Hull Council’s planning committee for approval in April.

Councillor Phyllis Pollard, chairman of the East Riding planning committee, said: “We welcome the applications and give our full support to a project which has huge potential to contribute to the economic development of the area by making the Humber a centre for the renewable energy sector.

“Green Port Hull will bring benefits to the East Riding as well as the wider Humber area and we have a close interest in helping to steer the project to success.”

The plans show construction could begin in “mid-2012” and take 28 months to complete.

Between 345 and 445 jobs would be created in the construction of the facility, which would manufacture, assemble, test and transport wind turbines for the offshore wind power industry.

Between 700 and 800 staff would initially be employed at the plant on Alexandra Dock, which would operate continuously and be expected to produce between 200 and 300 turbines a year.

The plans also show the factory could increase capacity to produce up to 500 turbines a year, which would see the workforce rise to up to 1,230 working in a variety of shift patterns.

The plant would potentially support thousands of other jobs in associated industries and the supply chain.

A factory, offices, storage, handling, testing and assembly facilities would be built, along with a helicopter landing site. The plant would also have its own operational turbine.

About 12 businesses already on the site would be relocated in the port.

As well as assembling turbines, the factory would make the nacelle component, which converts the energy.

Although the blades and tower components would arrive by ship, a report to the East Riding planning committee reveals that parts of the nacelles would arrive by road and some would be transported as abnormal loads – which is likely to lead to fresh calls for urgent investment in the roads infrastructure leading to the port.

The total planned investment in renewable energy projects on the Humber is about £1bn.

Able UK plans to build Europe’s largest offshore wind park on the south bank of the Humber – a £450m development which alone would create more than 4,000 jobs.