Scottish civil-engineers will lead the construction of the country’s newest onshore wind farm following the award of a £67 million contract by Vattenfall.

Glasgow-based RJ McLeod will deliver roads and access tracks, electrical infrastructure, turbine foundations and other infrastructure at South Kyle wind farm in East Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

Located around two miles to the east of Dalmellington, South Kyle will be Swedish state-owned company Vattenfall’s largest onshore wind farm in the United Kingdom.

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At the peak of construction, the project will require around 150 workers on site, and once operational the 240MW wind farm will make a significant contribution to Scotland’s net-zero ambitions - powering 170,000 homes and saving 300,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, the equivalent of taking 65,000 cars off the road each year.

The contract award marks a significant investment in the Scottish construction industry.

It will be the fourth major Vattenfall project undertaken by RJ McLeod, and continues Vattenfall’s commitment to the Scottish supply chain.

This extends to the local economy, with both Vattenfall and RJ McLeod committed to developing opportunities for local sub-contractors and suppliers wherever possible, whilst creating jobs and career opportunities within the renewable and low carbon energy sector.

Frank Elsworth, Vattenfall’s UK development director, said: “Constructing a wind farm is about so much more than just building a green power station. This is about creating and sustaining an industry that offers people a real future in a rewarding career.

“As well as bringing fossil-fuel free living a step closer, we want to ensure that businesses close to our wind farms have the chance to take full advantage of the opportunities developments like South Kyle can create.

“We’re delighted to be working with RJ McLeod again. Their knowledge and expertise will provide further reassurance that South Kyle will be a responsibly built asset to the local area, powering approximately 170,000 homes with green electricity and driving forward Scotland’s emission reduction ambitions.”

Bruce Clark, Joint Managing Director, RJ McLeod, said: “We’re delighted to be awarded the contract to construct South Kyle Wind Farm.  This is our fourth project with Vattenfall who recognise the skills and experience of our staff and operatives as well as our track record of using local resources and we look forward to jointly delivering this important energy asset.”

The works at South Kyle Wind Farm will consist of the construction of 50 reinforced concrete wind turbine foundations and associated crane hardstandings, construction or upgrade of approximately 48km of access tracks, a 132/33kV substation, a 4.5km 132kV cable connection, and the 33kV cables to connect the substation to the wind turbines.

The start date for construction is yet to be confirmed but preparatory works are anticipated to begin next month. Vattenfall said it is continuously monitoring precautions concerning Covid-19 and will continue to follow government guidance.

The wind farm is expected to start generating electricity by early 2023.

Scottish hand liquid sanitiser producer ClearWater Hygiene is urging companies and businesses to source locally and back quality British-made PPE products and services.

Since it was established in March, ClearWater Hygiene of Edinburgh has gone from zero to producing over 900,000 litres of sanitiser each week.

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Among other customers, ClearWater supplies the NHS, BP and Aldi.

Spun out of a family-run distillery but linked with a number of distillers across Scotland, the firm highlighted the “llarge volume of questionable PPE product has come into the UK from China and Turkey”. 

Andrew Montague, chief executive officer of ClearWater Hygiene, said: “One of the major things to come out of the pandemic is the need to focus on manufacturing in Britain. It has really focused people on the requirements for products to be local and high-quality: that is to say, available and high-performance. 

“In addition to this, there is an expectation of a fair and reasonable price. This is what ClearWater has focused on from the beginning, and it has taken us from a standing start in March to our current weekly production level of 900,000 litres per week.”

He added: “Quality of supply and service must go hand-in-hand. Business continuity is going to be even more critical for all businesses – and PPE products and services, manufactured and delivered in Britain, are central to securing it.  If you are running a business, you have to be completely sure that you are not going to be faced with either a product or supply failure: if that happens, you will simply not be able to operate. This could mean the difference between surviving and not making it through the difficult times ahead.”

Bike sales could top £1 billion by 2023, according to predictions.

While 32% of people surveyed in February said they already cycle to some extent, a further 32% said they would consider doing so in future, Mintel found.

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Six in 10 (59%) of these potential cyclists are women, and 55% are aged under 45, the survey of 2,000 people found.

Around 2.5 million bicycles were sold in the UK in 2019, at a value of £940 million, Mintel said.

It said that following an initial boost to bike sales as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, this is likely to drop off.

This year, people are expected to spend around £842 million on bikes, Mintel said.

But it forecasts that by 2023, the value of sales will top £1 billion as pent-up consumer demand is released.

John Worthington, senior analyst at Mintel, said: "The fact that at the beginning of the year a third of adults who didn't currently cycle said they would consider doing so in the future suggests there is huge potential to increase cycle participation rates.

"Once spending recovers from the impact of the recession, the long-term market potential is strong.
"Cycling is uniquely placed to benefit from growing health, wellness and environmental trends - all of which may be boosted by the Covid-19 crisis - and a broader urban mobility revolution which includes e-bikes and e-scooters."

A little less challenging for tired legs, Mintel estimates around 100,000 e-bikes were sold in the UK in 2019, up from about 73,000 in 2018.

Mr Worthington said: "The e-bike market has been growing rapidly over the past two years and consumer interest is high.

"While interest today is strong, e-bike sales could take longer to recover from the impact of the looming recession than standard bikes as they're significantly more expensive."