Blade in Britain

The planned closure of Vestas’ Isle of Wight wind turbine plant has been something of an embarrassment for the government as it seeks to put wind at the heart of the UK’s future energy mix.

As the sit-in of around 25 of the 625 workers set to lose their jobs moves into its third week, the story shows no signs of going away.

Vestas wants to close the plant – which was due to manufacture turbine blades for the UK market – because it believes UK planning regulations are stunting the growth of the market for wind power.

Originally due to close last Friday, the consultation period for the factory’s workers has now been extended. This has been hailed as a success by protestors and members of the RMT union, but expect things to get messy as a court hearing tomorrow kick starts legal proceedings to end the occupation.

But the planning issues around wind turbines pale alongside Boris Johnson’s latest ruse.

This week the London mayor receives the feasibility report into the development of “floating airport” off the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames Valley. Touted as an alternative to a third runway at Heathrow, the £40bn hub would span four runways across two islands and operate 24 hours a day. According to the proposals, it would be powered by water turbines and linked to the mainland by bridges and tunnels.

Finally this week, the latest set of figures detailing monthly car registrations in the UK will show whether the government’s “Bangers for cash” scheme is continuing to have a positive impact. June’s figures suggested that the scheme may have slowed the decline of the sector.

Jon Excell
Deputy Editor