Government has approved the Liverpool City Region as a Centre for Offshore Renewable Engineering (CORE). The City Region is the first on the West Coast to be awarded CORE status.
The City Region was selected following a submission to Government by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, supported by Cammell Laird, Peel Ports and the Local Authorities including Wirral, Liverpool and Sefton.
Centres for Offshore Renewable Engineering (CORE) are partnerships between Central and Local Government and Local Enterprise Partnerships that ensure businesses looking to invest in manufacturing for the offshore renewables industry receive the most comprehensive support possible.
Robert Hough Liverpool City Region LEP Chair said: "This is fantastic news and is testament to the work undertaken by partners over the last two years to place the City Region at the forefront of the UK's offshore wind industry.
"The Liverpool City Region has long been recognised as a centre of excellence for marine-related engineering through the world renowned Cammell Laird shipyard. But this expertise extends from internationally recognised research institutions and universities to specialised training and skills providers and an extensive supply chain of smaller companies.
Robert added: "CORE status means that ongoing work between Central Government and City Region partners to develop the local offer and unblock any barriers will help propel the Liverpool City Region's offshore ambitions further and faster."
The potential to create up to 3,000 jobs in this sector by 2012 was set out in the Low Carbon Economy Action Plan.
Liverpool City Region LEP and its partners have actively been promoting its potential both nationally and internationally and published a technical prospectus that sets out the City Region's offshore wind assets and capabilities. This document, which formed the centrepiece of the CORE bid, has been well received by both Government and the Industry. The quality of the offer is underlined by the commitment from leading global energy companies like RWE and DONG Energy to develop facilities along the Mersey.
Business minister Mark Prisk said: "CORE is an important initiative that brings local and central government together to maximise growth and economic benefit from the offshore wind industry in England.
"It is in an important element of Liverpool's City Deal, which will help to boost jobs and investment across the city region as part of a government drive to help cities become the engines of growth and play an important part in rebalancing the economy.
"The addition of Liverpool to the five existing COREs not only recognises the city region's strengths and potential in this sector but also strengthens the CORE partnership by linking in the substantial offshore wind market off the West Coast."
Cllr Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council said: "Offshore renewable energy is a rapidly growing multi-billion pound global industry which includes technologies for offshore wind, wave and tidal power. We are uniquely placed in Wirral because of our geography and existing skills to develop these industries and bring investment and jobs into manufacturing, supply chains and other innovative elements of the industry, and enable companies to gain a share of this growing market. Receiving CORE status is recognition of this potential and moving forward, we remain confident that we will be successful with our Regional Growth Fund bid to further support this sector."
Cammell Laird Chief Executive John Syvret CBE said: "Cammell Laird is delighted to have played a key role in the Liverpool City Region being awarded CORE status. The award is public recognition of how far we have come in putting the City Region at the centre of the offshore wind industry.
"Cammell Laird has won key contracts in the sector in the face of international competition. It is our strong track record in engineering allied to a highly skilled and flexible workforce that has enabled us to compete internationally for these complex engineering contracts."
Stephen Catchpole, Managing Director, Tees Valley Unlimited, said: "Liverpool being awarded CORE status is an extremely positive step which recognises an areas potential for dramatic growth and sustained job creation in the industry. Going forward we will be working closely with all of the CORE areas and highlighting the importance of how each area fits into the national picture of one of England's major new industries."