Another row has emerged over “British jobs for British workers” after it emerged teams were being flown in from Scandinavia to maintain a new £1billion wind farm off the Lincolnshire coast.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, opened the scheme with the claim that investing in renewable energy would create 30,000 British jobs by the end of the decade.
But he was accused by local MPs and businessmen of making hollow promises, the Daily Mail reported.
Because the Centrica turbines off the coast of Skegness are made in Denmark, workers from the region are being flown in daily to work on them.
The demand has meant that Scandinavian Airlines will begin a six day a week service between Copenhagen and Humberside Airport in October.
A French company made the cabling for the wind farm in Germany and Norway and the foundations were manufactured in Holland.
Sam Pick, who runs a renewable energy consultancy, said Britain was in the “craziest possible situation” where the Government is plowing money into renewable without any guarantee of UK involvement in the schemes.
Some of the windfarms in the North Sea had not touched the UK mainland, he said.
Labour MP Nic Dakin added that unless British people were trained to service and maintain the turbines it was difficult to see how any domestic jobs could be created.
Announcing £66million of fresh funding for the offshore wind industry, Mr Clegg claimed it would contribute £7billion to the economy, and compared those who oppose the scheme to the Luddites who smashed machinery during the Industrial Revolution.
He dismissed the concerns about workers being flown in, claiming there were “promising signs”.
But the experts say that unless major companies manufacture wind turbines in the UK few jobs will go to British workers.
Mr Dakin, MP for Scunthorpe, said: ‘If we do not act now, we will be in the same position by 2020 and will have to import skills and expertise while our own school leavers and young adults continue to languish in unemployment.’
The Institute for Public Policy Research, a leading think-tank, has also found Mr Clegg’s claims were optimistic.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey insisted there was “huge potential” for jobs from the industry.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding