Proposed changes to offshore wind leasing by the UK Crown Estate have angered a trade union, causing it to warn its Scottish counterpart that it should be telling developers north of the border: “no jobs, no lease”.
GMB Scotland’s senior organiser for manufacturing, Louise Gilmour, hit out at the claim by the UK Crown Estate that it had “listened” to offshore wind developers, but failed to include any provision for local firms.
Ms Gilmour warned the Crown Estate Scotland, a seperate body and who are yet to publish the rules that will govern future leasing, that they need to “start challenging” developers on jobs.
A Crown Estate Scotland spokesperson said the organisation was “working hard” to ensure that its leasing round, called ScotWind, will “enable wider socio-economic benefits for communities”.
The UK Crown Estate announced last month it will make alterations to the next Offshore Wind Leasing Round in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in response to feedback from developers.
Ms Gilmour said: “Developers have simply no interest in making supply chain commitments unless these are wrung out of them and authorities have no strategic plan, or will, to create local jobs from these massive and highly subsidised offshore developments.
“If Crown Estate Scotland want to do something different, and that’s a big if, then they need to start by challenging developers not just designing a leasing system that gives them what they want because the harsh truth in this market is that the international big players see Scotland’s renewable energy potential as the potential to exploit our resources, pocket our subsidies and take their work and profits home.”
A spokeswoman for the UK Crown Estate said it had designed a process that is “attractive, accessible and fair”, adding that the expansion of offshore wind “will unlock opportunities for communities and businesses across the country as part of a flourishing domestic supply chain”.