Ministers criticised over handling of BiFab yards in Fife

Ministers criticised over handling of BiFab yards in Fife

Scottish government environment advisers have issued a rebuke to ministers over their handling of the BiFab yards in Fife.

The Just Transition Commission advises on making the transition to a low-carbon economy.

It has warned this switch could be undermined if ministers fail to secure manufacturing jobs.

And it believes this starts with offshore wind turbine platforms at the fabrication yards.

The Scottish government recently withdrew a £30m financial guarantee from BiFab’s bid for work, saying it would have broken state subsidy rules.

That effectively ended hopes of creating 450 jobs.

Prof Jim Skea, chairman of the Just Transition Commission – appointed by ministers – has written to them, saying that without “concrete action and investment, (they) risk repeating the current situation, with jobs and economic prosperity lost abroad”.

He warned that public support for the transition to a greener economy would require Scottish economic benefits linked to subsidies on wind farms.

The BiFab yards were seen as a way for Scotland to find manufacturing benefits from billions of pounds being invested in windfarms on and offshore.

The current round of offshore wind farms, which secured a minimum price from government-run auctions, are now in the construction phase.

DF Barnes had been negotiating to build jackets for wind turbines to be installed off Fife by French firm EDF.

But in October the company pulled out, citing a refusal by the Scottish government to provide financial guarantees.

The government said rules on state aid limited the amount of support it could offer.

All three fabrication yards – at Burntisland, Methil and Arnish – are currently mothballed.

The Scottish government took a stake in the Bifab yards when they were saved from permanent closure in April 2018.

But it said it was legally barred from guaranteeing contracts while the majority shareholder was not funding the company or the yards,

Leave a Reply