Whitby Harbour is set to play a major role in the development of a massive offshore wind farm, it has been confirmed.
After years of speculation, Whitby Harbour Board chairman Cllr Mike Cockerill announced to the borough council on Monday that he had formally been approached by a company hoping to use Whitby for the project.
Cllr Cockerill said: “It has always been considered that our ports, as the closest in a straight line to the Dogger Bank, would be ideally placed to provide facilities for the operation and maintenance servicing required to support the Dogger Bank project, as well as others already under construction.
“I am pleased to be able to announce, following a number of preliminary meetings, that we have been formally approached by an existing operator of service vessels to establish a phased presence on Endeavour Wharf in Whitby.”
Although discussions are still in their early stages, Cllr Cockerill was confident that a deal could be struck as the borough council had been working for a number of years to develop the facilities necessary to support wind farm services.
The Dogger Bank wind farm is estimated to feature around 2,000 wind turbines and although in February it was announced the development would be 20 per cent smaller than previously suggested, it still represents more potential capacity than all the offshore wind farms currently installed and operating in UK waters.
Encouraging the council to financially support the development of Whitby Harbour, Cllr Cockerill added: “There is work that needs to be done at Whitby Harbour to bring our facilities up to scratch and make them fit for purpose, to take advantage of the significant benefit likely to be derived from this work.
The Dogger Bank wind farm will be approximately the size of North Yorkshire and Cllr Cockerill said the economic benefits could last for decades.
He added: “We may not be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel but at least, I believe, we are seeing the tunnel.”
Cllr Cockerill added that the Minister for Transport Stephen Hammond MP has accepted his invitation to visit Whitby and see the port’s operations.
Wireless internet is set to be installed in Whitby Harbour over the coming weeks, after some delay. Any harbour users who had been charged for the service while it was unavailable are set to be reimbursed, Cllr Cockerill pledged.