The day after the release of the DECC White Paper announcing the government’s intention to invest more in wind power, committing to a target of 30% of the country’s energy to be generated through renewable energy sources by 2020 and promising the creation of jobs in the environment sector, environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth have called for the government to safeguard the jobs we already have.
Vestas Blades wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight, home to 600 jobs, is due to close in July, and FOE have joined forces with trade union ‘Unite’ and are calling on people to show their support for the UK’s only wind turbine manufacturers by sending letters to Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, asking him to act to save the UK’s wind industry.
As well as asking the government to save Vestas Blades, the campaign also calls on the government to promote onshore windfarms and work to make them more acceptable to the British public, to invest in the electricity grid to expand both on and off-shore electricity production, and to enable more decentralised energy production through innovation of existing energy networks. Deputy secretary general at Unite, Jack Dromy, said,
“The Government talks about how green jobs will help the country climb out of the recession, so we hope they will take action.”
The plea comes at a time when unemployment figures are high and still continuing to rise, and many people are looking to the green sector to provide new jobs and employment opportunities for UK citizens. If the wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight were to close, this would leave the options available for supplying parts for the developments of on and off-shore wind farms needed to help the UK meet the renewable energy targets set out in Ed Miliband’s White Paper down to suppliers from either China or the USA.
Although the developments themselves would create jobs in the construction and operating of the wind farms once built, investing in British manufacturing and cutting down on carbon emissions created through shipping parts across the globe should also be a serious consideration for the government. You can join in the campaign and send your message to Lord Mandelson, by completing the form on Friends of the Earth’s website.