Building and civil engineering firm McLaughlin & Harvey has received a design and build contract from Associated British Ports (ABP) for the Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility (LEEF).

For LEEF, ABP’s vision is to provide a facility which will be suitable for operations & maintenance (O&M) activities and also provide construction support for the offshore energy industry.

The company intends to make approximately $1.18m (£1m) investment in the detailed design of infrastructural upgrades of the site, as part of the project’s next phase.

The funding will also be utilised to add extra capacity to house the next generation of large offshore support vessels.

ABP stated that the design phase of the project is anticipated to take approximately six months and the construction is expected to take nearly 12 months, with the vessels to begin using the facility from 2024.

ABP Wales and Short Sea Ports director Andrew Harston said: “The winning design for LEEF will enable us to deliver this hugely exciting project and create a competitive edge for companies across the Southern North Sea (SNS) energy sector.

“Having recently won ‘Best Project’ in the regional Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2022, LEEF has the potential to attract many supply chain companies to Lowestoft, bringing new jobs and prosperity to the area.”

The company stated that its new LEEF forms part of the Port Gateway project, which is one of the five projects that will receive the $29.4m (£24.9m) Lowestoft deal awarded by the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities in 2020.

East Suffolk Council councillor Craig Rivett said: “We are proud to be supporting the Port Gateway development through the recently announced Town Deal.

“It is a vital project that will create a significant number of highly skilled jobs in the town for many years to come, whilst building on Lowestoft as the region’s hub for offshore wind operations and maintenance.

“This development, once completed, will in turn provide further future opportunities for the supply chain as Lowestoft remains at the forefront of operational support for the renewable sector.”

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Plan for ABP’s Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility (LEEF). Credit: Associated British Ports.