Monday, 8 June 2009

WIND FARMS AND A LACK OF JOBS?

It is nice to know that the great and the good were out last week looking at Thanet's Off-shore Wind farm and that we have the pleasures of The London Array to come.

What I find fascinating is the development that is now encircling or is about to encircle us. China Gateway and Manston Airport to the South; industrial farming glass-houses and associated warehouses of Thanet Earth to the West and shortly we will see our empty seascape, one of the main attractions for visitors to our beaches, blighted with hundreds of turning turbines glistening in the sun.
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Sitting on Fort Hill the other morning with the sun lighting up clearly the wind-mills off Herne Bay (17km away) I wondered if any-one in Thanet has grasped the enormous visual intrusion on our seascapes that these wind farms are about to create? Whether on the northside or even in Broadstairs, that pleasure for visitors, of staring out to sea to the empty horizon, is about to be a thing of the past.
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Well of course, its worth it for the jobs, isn't it? What jobs? A look at Vattenfall's web-site shows that they have many employees all over Europe but a distinct lack of British employees; in fact no column is devoted to the UK at all.
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Here is what Vattenfall has to say about their project: (Capitals are mine)
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The total investment for completing the wind farm is in the order of around £780 million. A proportion of this COULD be spent locally with potential benefits for local suppliers and services.
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Local contractors and workers ARE currently being used in support of the development. (Who are they and how many jobs?)
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An assembly base is needed during the construction period. Up to 200 workers will be required, some of whom COULD be provided locally.
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A local maintenance facility is needed during the 40 year operational life of the wind farm. Up to 20 skilled positions will be required, many of whom COULD be provided locally.
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Tourism MAY be boosted. Many visitors have been attracted to both onshore and offshore wind farm developments in the past.

If anyone can confirm that this project is actually creating lots of local employment, I would be very grateful to hear about it. In the meantime, I will think of those foreign chaps in Whitstable who are maintaining Herne Bay's wind-mills and think how more European I need to become.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I feel that we can consider ourselves lucky if we get about 10% of the jobs suggested.

All these projects are sold as having massive employment potential just to smooth things over, we see this with China gate, even the multi million pound development Thanet Turf, in the main they seem to employ migrant workers through agencies, I've done a shift or two up there and can just about survive on the minimum wage but it seems as if they prefer non-brits, at least thats the impression I got from my foreign supervisor maybe thats unfair but it was suggested also to me by another agency local resident.

Alan Poole said...

I went out to view the wind farm last week........very impressive.
There will only be a few local jobs, I think that was always the case....about 20 I understand. That is 20 jobs.....better than none, especially in the current climate. There will also be money spent in Ramsgate which will aid local firms.......
I actually think the wind turbines look great.....a tourist attraction even! My prefernce is for the wind turbines to be off the coast rather than on land. We will need a great many more wind farms if we are to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Stop Manston Expansion Group said...

Bertie, Thanet jobs for Thanet workers cannot be promised. The employers will decide who is the best/cheapest people to do the work.

The council should be asking at the point of planning application what jobs are being created, do we have those numbers/skillsets in our unemployed or do me have to entice skilled/unskilled migrants to the area.

The way things work at the moment are the jobs number alone gets planning through and there is no joined up thinking on the remainder. Are any of thanets long term unemployed having training to specifically get them into a job at the windfarm? Also nothing is being done to promote Thanet as a place to live and work to entice skilled workers down here.

The council are a one trick pony when it comes to increasing their budget. Rather than bring in higher paid more skilled jobs, let's attract the bottom end of the pay scale roles, keep our unemployed unemployable and top the deprivation charts instead. That's a quick easy way to get a central gov/euro grant.

Eastcliff Richard said...

The windfarms ain't gonna blight Ramsgate's view, Bertie! But then we have the airport doing a good enough job as far as blight is concerned.

Still, it's hilarious to see North Islanders having something to complain about at last!

Bertie Biggles said...

My concern Cllr Poole is that here we have £3/4 of a billion project aided with Govt funding happening in one of the most deprived spots in the South- East and with precious little benefit to the community. It's really scraping the bottom of the barrel to suggest that wind-farm tourism will benefit us. Is it British steel and British components being put into this wind farm or is it all from Europe?

Anonymous said...

I see in todays Thanet Times that CGP's Ken Wills was flying around a group of worthies including Roger Latchford. This was a promote China Gateway bash.

As Roger Latchford is also a Director of the Council Owned Business Enterprise that is trying to sell land to CGP; then excuse me if I'm wrong.

But is there not a serious conflict of interest?

Alan Poole said...

Yes, Bertie, I agree with you it is a very big project and with little direct benefit to Thanet. However, Port Ramsgate will benefit directly from Windfarm traffic and will be used as the maintenance base. I believe it is still a 'plus' even if it is only a small one. Let's face it they could have used Dunkirk or Ostend!

Anonymous said...

Phases two and three of China Gateway about to hit Planning Department perhaps? Mind you, with the land at Manston needed for the showcase China Gateway building still owned by EKO LLP and no sign yet of it being sold, perhaps Ken Wills is trying to charm Cllr. Latchford into persuading the company to sell the land, finally.

'Conflict of interest'? You bet.

Anonymous said...

23:29

Of course there is, when O.B.E is dealing with these matters. Thank god for the twelve disciples and of course St Columbus?

D2

Bertie Biggles said...

I think that CGP are some way off from Phases 2 and 3 yet, 08:02 and have got to get Phase 1 up and running on 'employment land' of which Thanet has a large surplus.

The problem we have in terms of 'self-interest' 10:00 is not personal gain but EKO LLP's plans to put housing on Eurokent site instead of retaining it as employment land. This then in one fell swoop gains a 'greater return' for EKO LLP ( our own Councils)and its partners whilst at the same time producing a contrived need for more development land; then watch out for Phases 2 and 3 of China Gateway.

It is strange that, such is my lack of confidence in the integrity of TDC and KCC and their obsessive secrecy within EKO LLP, that I tend to have more respect for the CGP 'crew' in terms of where they stand and what they want to achieve.

The present incumbents at TDC and KCC seem to forget that they are only temporary and fleeting stewards of Thanet and yet the short-term and misguided decisions they will take, will blight this Isle for ever.

Anonymous said...

D2, do you have more to share? What is the view from your window like?

Anonymous said...

Oh I see lots of things at Manston from my round window ( I seldom use the crossed one). D9 informs me that that the past dealings up at this area have enabled some sharp practices. D8 is dealing with this matter as I type this up - and he is a right hooligan ( from his military days).

I would be asking did KCC purchase this land twice?

D2