Warning over �60m funding for wind farm ports

Business leaders, trade unions and green groups have warned the Government against cutting £60 million of funding earmarked for developing UK ports to support new offshore wind farms.

In an open letter to the Treasury, the coalition of companies, MPs and organisations warned that slashing the promised funding threatened the creation of around 50,000 green-collar jobs in wind industry manufacturing.

The £60 million pot, for which ports were set to compete, was designed to assist the redevelopment of UK port sites so they could support manufacture of offshore wind turbines and other parts in this country. The money is subject to the forthcoming spending review, along with a series of other schemes aimed at shifting the move to a low-carbon economy.

But the coalition, which includes the European chief executives of major manufacturers General Electric and Siemens, which have both pledged to open factories on the back of the funding, said the UK needs to develop port infrastructure to ensure offshore wind manufacturing is established in this country.

In the open letter, the coalition, brought together by wind industry body RenewableUK, urged the Government to retain the funding "in order that UK ports can do their part in creating a new green industry and the thousands of jobs that will follow".

The letter comes after the chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, Tim Yeo, warned that reducing spending on low-carbon technology now would be like cutting the budget for Spitfires in 1939.

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