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Scottish ministers failed to get Fife workers in the running to build wind farm, Labour charges

SCOTTISH ministers failed “completely” to get Fife fabrication yards in the running for a wind farm just 10 miles off the ancient kingdom’s coast, Labour charged today.

The £2 billion Neart na Gaoithe wind farm is expected to generate electricity for around 375,000 homes.

The troubled BiFab fabrication yards in Methil and Burntisland are experienced in manufacturing jackets for offshore wind turbines.

Yet much of the work to build infrastructure for Neart na Gaoithe has been awarded to Italian firm Saipem.

Now Scottish Labour MSPs Alex Rowley and Claire Baker have written to the Scottish government asking why ministers did not ensure the yards were prepared to win the work, even while the government supported developers as they faced a protracted court challenge brought by the RSPB.

“The more information emerges about this project, the clearer it becomes that the Scottish government had both the opportunity and the right to demand that there were binding assurances about work coming to BiFab and the wider supply chain,” the MSPs said.

“Instead, Scotland is yet again scrabbling around looking for a small fraction of the work while the Italian firm Saipem, who are the main contractors, appear set to farm out the great majority of fabrication to Indonesia. 

They called on ministers to “explain why so little has been done to prepare” for offshore wind contracts and called for “a full review of what has gone so badly wrong.”

BiFab was bailed out by the Scottish government after workers, organised by unions GMB and Unite, occupied the yards to prevent closure in 2017.

But the enterprise has remained on the rocks with major contracts snapped up by overseas bidders.


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