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Andrew Hodgson on the new offshore wind sector deal laid out by Government

The new offshore wind sector deal between the Government and industry will provide support for this vital and vibrant part of the UK economy over the next 10 years. It’s a sector in which the North East has particular strengths and our Strategic Economic Plan identifies offshore wind as an area of strategic importance for the North East, with the potential to create more and better jobs for the region and to build on our already globally important offshore energy and subsea cluster.

The government has recognised these strengths, with the North East being selected as one of the geographical clusters of the industry which the sector deal will focus on, and be delivered through, providing support across areas including skills, innovation and infrastructure.

This sector deal has the potential to be transformational, leading to the creation of new, high-skilled jobs in our region, supporting our work towards clean growth, and strengthening what is an area of significant export opportunity for the UK – especially important as we move towards a post-Brexit environment.

One example of a project which is set to benefit the North East is Dogger Bank which, when complete, will be the world’s biggest wind farm. Initial projections carried out by the Forewind consortium showed that the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber could see between 4,500 and 7,300 new jobs created and between £1 billion and £2.2 billion additional GVA to 2029 – this is exactly the kind of opportunity which will be supported by this new sector deal and demonstrates the huge potential value of the offshore wind sector to the North East.

It’s important that we work together to contribute to the deal as a region. Cross-sector collaboration and alignment is vital in ensuring that we make the most of the opportunities presented. The North East LEP is already working with partners in the public and private sectors, the sector supply chain and academia to help shape the regional energy agenda and create an aligned approach. We are also developing the North East Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) which will embed innovation across the North East and create strong links to the offshore wind sector.

I look forward to working with our partners to capitalise on the opportunities presented by this new sector deal and to pro-actively contributing to the deal as a region.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East LEP.