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Market News

 October 29, 2011
UK wind industry to create hundreds of new jobs despite downturn

 RenewableUK survey reveals 80 per cent of its members to hire in next 18 months.

Hopes that the UK's renewable energy industries will drive a new wave of job-creation received a major boost yesterday after a new survey revealed the sector plans to take on hundreds of new staff over the coming months.

Trade body Renewable UK, which represents the marine and wave energy industries, revealed that 80 per cent of its members plan to hire extra staff in the next 18 months.

The survey of more than 250 renewables companies, which was carried out last month, revealed that 39 per cent plan to increase their headcount by 10 per cent, while a quarter plan to swell numbers by more than 20 per cent.

Significantly, just two per cent of firms surveyed plan to reduce staff numbers, suggesting the industry is bucking the trend of a broader economic downturn.

RenewableUK director of policy Gordon Edge said the figures revealed growing confidence across the industry.

However, he urged the government to improve the UK's "cumbersome" planning process to help boost the onshore wind market.

"We need the right level of support from the government to achieve [the UK's renewable energy goals]," he said. "Our members are also telling us that practical steps need to be taken urgently to tackle long delays in the planning system. If we can get the right policy framework in place, we will be able to consolidate our position at the forefront of the energy sector worldwide."

RenewableUK also reported yesterday that the proportion of onshore wind farm planning applications gaining approval had fallen to a record low of just 42 per cent.

The imminent jobs boom is also likely to raise fresh questions over the UK's ability to provide the engineering and technical skills renewable energy developers require.