Humber renewable sector 'crucial for economy'

People speaking at Humber Business Week
Image caption Business leaders were speaking at the start of a week-long conference in Hull

The renewable sector in Hull and the Humber is crucial for the UK economy, business leaders have said.

Industry figures were speaking at the start of the week-long Humber Business Week conference at Hull's KC Stadium.

Plans to build a £210m wind turbine factory on Hull's Alexandra Dock were approved by the city council last month.

Dr Paul Sewell, from Sewell Construction Group, said the sector would help "rebalance the economy".

"We used to be about fishing and exporting to Scandinavia, now with the renewables we've got a reason for being again, so I think it's absolutely critical for us over the next few years, that we take that opportunity for the local supply chain," said Dr Sewell.

"We've got to influence those people [in the local supply chain] to take those opportunities."

'Long-term opportunity'

Charlie Spencer, from The Spencer Group construction company, said: "It's anticipated that there's going to be about £14bn of inward investment into the Humber region, that's why we've moved back here and very proud now to have a Hull business.

"I think there's a lot of businesses with renewables in their sight but not quite able to grasp what it means for them or how they're going to benefit from renewables. I think the lesson really is to actually get on the road with your own business because it is a long-term opportunity."

Siemens will spend £80m on the wind turbine factory, with ABP investing a reported £130m on the dock's infrastructure.

The factory is expected to open in 2014.

Siemens said the factory would employ 700 people making blades and turbine units for offshore wind farms.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said the development would "give confidence to our domestic manufacturing supply chain".

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