UK waters have the highest concentration of wind turbines anywhere in the world but only a tiny share of contracts to build the offshore wind industry is going to British businesses, The Northern Echo has reported.
E.ON reported that just 10 per cent of the work for the London Array offshore scheme, the world’s biggest, had gone to British contractors.
The company behind the Thanet wind farm near Kent also admitted that less than 20 per cent of the £900 million-worth of contracts had gone to British firms.
The UK has more than 60 per cent of the European Union’s offshore wind capacity – three times greater than that of Denmark, the next largest. But the lion’s share of contracts to build UK sites have been snaffled up by German, Dutch, Swedish and Norwegian suppliers.
Developers have argued that the bidding process is fair and contracts are awarded according to sound criteria, such as price and track record.
But North-east suppliers want the government to put pressure on lead contractors to guarantee a certain proportion of work will be passed on to local businesses.
New factories are springing up across the North-east in the hope that this region can take advantage of a billion pound industry capable of creating thousands of jobs.