MEP lobbies for Ilfracombe jobs from Atlantic Array
Devon MEP Sir Graham Watson is hoping 40 jobs created by the proposed Altantic Array offshore wind farm will come to Ilfracombe.
Mr Watson met with officials from RWE Renewables at their Swindon headquarters last week to lobby for the construction and maintenance jobs to come to North Devon area rather than South Wales.
Mr Watson says the 278 offshore turbine project, which has the potential to power over one million homes, could create more than 40 jobs in Ilfracombe in addition to scores more during the construction period.
Mr Watson said: "We are not just talking about a small development here to power a local community. We are talking about powering over one million homes with clean electricity.
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"I understand the concerns local residents have over environmental concerns and the visual impact. But with our dependency on foreign gas and oil getting bigger by the day and with the concerns over nuclear following the Fukushima disaster last year, we must look to further explore the options of renewable energy. I very much doubt residents in North and West Devon would prefer to have a nuclear power station.
"I had a constructive meeting with RWE Power who are all too aware that there should be considerable benefits to the local community in North Devon. I hope these jobs can be secured in and around Ilfracombe and I will continue to campaign hard for this to happen. The economic benefits to the local economy created by the construction of this array could be a huge boost to North Devon in these difficult economic times.
"The economic benefits do not just include the 40 or so jobs that would be created. It would also be a boost indirectly to local businesses such as hoteliers, shop owners and others who would benefit from more people moving into the area to work on the project."
The closest turbine will be nearly nine nautical miles from the North Devon coast. A local investment fund will also be set up for North Devon to invest in community projects.