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Siemens today (June 3) welcomed a decision by Hull City Council’s Planning Committee to grant approval to plans by global wind energy market leader Siemens for a turbine blade factory and associated facilities in the city.

From left, Siemens project director Finbarr Dowling, council leader Cllr Steve Brady and Simon Brett, ABP's head of project for the Humber. Picture: Peter Harbour

The committee gave consent, subject to conditions on technical details, for the development on Hull’s Alexandra Dock. Two related applications for the site were well received on consultation, attracting positive responses to the proposals.

Planning approval was granted for:

  • Construction of a 39,600sqm factory at the western side of Alexandra Dock for the manufacture of 75m turbine blades and the assembly, maintenance, storage and distribution of wind turbine components.
  • Office accommodation and welfare facilities.
  • Development of open and covered areas for the storage, handling, assembly and testing of wind turbine components.
  • Construction of a 12,300sqm building at the south east corner of the site for the ongoing service and maintenance of wind turbines and storage of parts and equipment required in pre-assembly phases.
  • Service areas and ancillary facilities, infrastructure, including parking, and landscaping.

Planning permission was granted under reserved matters further to the Port of Hull Local Development Order (LDO), which was adopted in 2012 to assist in attracting renewable energy businesses to the port area within the Humber Enterprise Zone. This now means that the entire Siemens development has full planning approval.

The Alexandra Dock site is 540,000sqm, the equivalent of 78 football pitches. Development of the site will also include:

  • The partial infill of Alexandra Dock to provide additional storage areas.
  • A new quay for loading of part-assembled turbines for shipping to offshore wind farms.
  • Roll-on, roll-off ramps for the unloading of wind turbine components.

With partner Associated British Ports (ABP), Siemens is investing £310m in the Hull project – the city’s biggest ever inward investment.

Today’s approval for two related planning applications follows a Siemens decision last November to bring together buildings previously earmarked for Alexandra Dock and nearby Paull onto a single site. Siemens’ continuing research led to a more efficient factory design for the manufacture of its turbine blades, thereby enabling the facility to be accommodated at Alexandra Dock.

Siemens’ Hull Project Director Finbarr Dowling said: “We are delighted our revised proposals have been granted planning permission and the development of Alexandra Dock is now fully consented.

“We would like to thank members of the planning committee, and Hull City Council generally, for their support. The planning process has been very professionally managed, with excellent and proactive engagement between Siemens, ABP, the local authority and a wide range of statutory consultees and interested parties.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the tremendous backing we have received from the local community, which reflects the highly supportive environment we have experienced in Hull since announcing our investment proposals.”

The facilities at Alexandra Dock will create 1,000 jobs directly, with more during construction and in the supply chain, and stimulate further investment and economic growth. Siemens has already begun hiring for jobs based in Hull, with recruitment continuing through 2015 and 2016.

As well as bringing a new industry to the UK, the pioneering Siemens investment will make a key contribution to meeting Britain’s targets for renewable energy generation and to driving down the costs of wind power.

Leader of Hull City Council, Councillor Stephen Brady, said: “This is one of several milestones that takes the city a step further towards the delivery of the project and today’s approval is a fine example of how teams across the Green Port Hull project are working collaboratively to bring this scheme to fruition.

“Early engagement with key statutory agencies since the start of this project has led to close working relationships, further strengthened since the approval of the Local Development Order alongside the Humber LEP. This approach has enabled swift and positive responses from all key consultees to the applications determined today, demonstrating the planning system’s ability to deliver a major manufacturing element of a new industrial sector to the city in good time.

“We would like to thank Siemens and Associated British Ports in their continued commitment towards developing manufacturing, assembly, load-out and servicing facilities for offshore wind turbines.”

ABP has appointed the GRAHAM Lagan Construction Group Joint Venture to develop the Alexandra Dock site for the Siemens facilities and enabling work is well advanced. Siemens anticipates that construction of the blade factory and associated facilities will begin this summer.

Mr Dowling added: “We are looking forward to beginning work on our blade factory and related facilities and to seeing our plans to create world-class manufacturing and assembly operations take shape.

“We have been pleased with the progress that has been made so far, under the direction of our partners, ABP, in moving forward such a huge scheme while minimising impact on the local community.

“As we appoint contractors and begin our own construction phase, we will continue to work very closely with the council and other agencies to limit disruption while bringing this transformational investment to fruition.”

Find out more about the Siemens Hull project by visiting the Siemens Hull web page