Swaffham offshore contract win will create 80 jobs

Up to 80 people from local firms will help build the base of a huge offshore wind farm after the Swaffham arm of a construction company secured the �2.6m contract.

Scira Offshore Energy, one of the joint venture companies behind the project, said it was looking for a company based in the area to build the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm's operational base, and chose Mansell because of its health and safety focus and track record.

The North Norfolk operation of the Balfour Beatty-owned company employs more than 100 people, and is based at Swaffham's Ecotech Innovation and Business Park.

Regional managing director Dean Burgess said: 'This project enables us to continue our commitment to the sustainable and renewables market at a local level with a multi-national partner,

'During Mansell's contract at Sheringham Shoal wind farm, an average of 45-50 people, generally from its local supply chain specialist companies, will be employed on site. This will peak at approximately 75-80 people.'

Scira's base at Egmere, three miles south of Wells, will house the wind farm's 50-strong operations team, and include an office, warehousing, a service yard and landscape gardening.

Preliminary work to replace power lines with underground cables on the 0.24-acre site was completed last month, and construction is due to start in the next few weeks, to be completed by October or November.

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A spokesman for Scira said: 'Wherever we can possibly do it, we would like to take regional contractors on the premise that it's much better as a businesses to have local knowledge and local suppliers.'

She said smaller, permanent contracts for service and maintenance at the Egmere site were still to be let, with local companies again in line to benefit.

The company last week announced the completion of undersea works preparing the offshore site for the installation of cables transporting power from the wind turbines.