Today’s news is confirmation of the many benefits that the Navitus Bay offshore wind farm could deliver for Dorset. Now it is down to the Government to deliver for the county.
I have long been a proud and public advocate for the development, for two fundamental reasons. One is that we urgently need to de-carbonise and diversify our energy supply. The second is that Navitus Bay, and the green economy, will bring high-skilled, good quality jobs to parts of our region where such work is in short-supply.
Portland is just such an example. The local economy really suffered when the Royal Navy withdrew from the Island almost 20 years ago, and many high-skilled civilian support roles disappeared together with the service personnel. In recent years, the Port has undergone a regeneration, attracting business and jobs in the maritime industry and leisure sectors.
The agreement between Portland Port and Jan De Nul UK LTD is yet more welcome news. If successful in their bid to win the contract for the turbine bases, and the development is approved by the Government, this new partnership will create an estimated 500 jobs in the local economy, many of them high-skilled and long-term. Moreover, JDN will establish 30 new apprentices, which promises to equip many more local young people with future-proof skills for jobs in the green economy, across the world.
For Portland, Dorset and the South West, this is exciting news. We must now hope that the Government makes the right decision next month, and approves the development.