OffshoreMarine Management (OMM) is urging MPs to consider the impact of Brexiton the future of the offshore renewables industry, ahead of the returnof the EU Withdrawal Bill to the House of Commons next week.
The call comes after the House of Lords backed an amendment to the EU WithdrawalBill, obliging the UK to remain in the European Economic Area (EEA) whenit leaves the EU in 9 months” time.
Also known as the “Norway model”, should this be accepted by the Commons,it would allow the UK to retain key aspects of the single market.
One such key aspect is free movement of people – a factor in the flexibleworkforce available to UK businesses, which as of last year built halfof Europe”s offshore wind power.
OMM say the role that Britain plays in meeting the demand for renewableenergy could, however, be compromised if Parliament does not ensure thatlaws are in place to allow the offshore renewables industry to secure astable qualified workforce with the ability to move freely across Europe.
The risk is that, due to the extra administration that would be required,there will be a reduction in British personnel available to work in EUwaters and vice versa. A cut to supply of this kind could have an impacton the industry, hampering the targets it is forecasting beyond 2025 dueto unknown rising costs.
OMM Director, Rob Grimmond said: “It is crucial that MPs give due considerationto the offshore renewables industry ahead of their decision on the EU WithdrawalBill, given the importance of a secure and flexible workforce to the workthat we do.
“There is potential for the increased administration costs associatedwith the end of free movement privileges to significantly restrict theopportunities available to our team and others alike. This will not onlyhave negative implications for British businesses like OMM, but also forthe renewables industry across Europe as a whole, in light of the significantrole we play in offshore wind production.”
Offshore Marine People Academy (OMPA), who train and provide personnelfor the offshore and marine industries, have echoed the calls of sistercompany OMM for full consideration of the offshore renewables industryby Parliament as the EU Withdrawal Bill returns to the Commons.
Anthony Lewis of OMPA said: “Staying within the EEA could mitigatethe additional costs, administration and risk to quick response presentedby working with countries that require British workers to complete visaapplications, and as such would give our skilled and experienced workersthe continued opportunity to operate successfully in European waters.
"Should the House of Commons decide to reject this, it is importantthat they work with the industry to secure an alternative deal that willsafeguard industry jobs and, indeed, the UK”s offshore capability.”
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