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Clegg's pledge for UK to produce more wind turbines

Wind turbines
The Lib Dems say Britain needs a rebalanced and green economy

Nick Clegg will pledge to turn disused shipyards into wind turbine production centres, should the Lib Dems win power.

The party says 57,000 jobs could be created in cities hit by unemployment with renewable energy also boosted.

He said it was a "scandal that 90% of the £1.75bn contract" for a wind farm off Kent was going abroad because of a lack of facilities to build turbines.

He will say port authorities on the North Sea and Irish Sea could bid for a share of £400m to convert shipyards.

The party says seven shipyards could be converted and expects towns and cities including Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Middlesbrough, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow to apply for the funds.

Research units

Shipyards would need to be upgraded for construction and testing of turbines and deep enough for boats needed to transport the blades and towers to wind farms in the North and Irish Seas.

A further £100m would be invested in training and testing facilities - including universities with specialist engineering research units such as Loughborough, Durham and Newcastle.

Expanding off-shore wind will create jobs but unless we act now, these jobs won't be British jobs
Nick Clegg

The party says it would redirect £3.6bn of government spending within a year of the general election to create jobs and build up infrastructure.

Mr Clegg said: "New off-shore turbines, with blades the size of the London Eye, need to be built and launched from modern docks, so we need to upgrade our shipyards to take advantage of this massive opportunity."

He added: "Expanding off-shore wind will create jobs but unless we act now, these jobs won't be British jobs.

"It's a scandal that 90% of the £1.75bn contract for a wind farm off the coast of Kent is going to foreign contractors, with the turbines being manufactured in Germany.

"Investing in infrastructure for a new green economy not only helps create jobs now but will allow Britain to take its place at the cutting edge of this growing industrial sector for the future."

His party says 12,000 jobs would be created in developing the ports and 45,000 in manufacturing, constructing and supplying the turbines.

The economy and environment will be much fought over in the upcoming general election - widely expected to be called in May.

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