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Yarmouth company's wind farm contract

PUBLISHED: 10:29 10 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:37 30 June 2010

A Yarmouth company has won a two-year contract to survey bird life at a site earmarked for a major offshore wind farm.

Gardline Environmental, a subsidiary of Gardline Marine Sciences, secured the deal involving a baseline survey of birds in and around the Dogger Bank, a 3,340 sq mile sandbank in the North Sea, about 150 miles north east of Norfolk.

A Yarmouth company has won a two-year contract to survey bird life at a site earmarked for a major offshore wind farm.

Gardline Environmental, a subsidiary of Gardline Marine Sciences, secured the deal involving a baseline survey of birds in and around the Dogger Bank, a 3,340 sq mile sandbank in the North Sea, about 150 miles north east of Norfolk.

The bank is one of nine areas named in Round Three of the government's offshore wind plans, aimed at generating a quarter of the UK's electricity needs by 2020 from up to 6,000 turbines.

The contract to design and build the Dogger Bank wind farm was awarded to Forewind, a consortium of energy firms SSE Renewables, RWE Npower Renewables, Statoilhydro and Statkraft, last month.

But before development can begin surveys of bird life and migration paths must be conducted to avoid or mitigate disruption caused by the turbines.

The Gardline Environmental contract, the value of which has not been disclosed, includes the 24-month charter of its parent company's 65-metre ship MV Sea Profiler and more than 20 staff, including the vessel's crew, scientists and technical support workers. Survey work started two weeks ago.

Phil Durrant, managing director of Gardline Environmental, said: “We are extremely pleased to win the work. It's a major contract for our marine wildlife department and a just reward for a lot of effort they have put in.

“It represents a big step forward for that part of the business.”

Mr Durrant said Gardline Environmental, which was set up as a subsidiary company of Gardline Marine Sciences in 2003, had seen a “tenfold” increase in sales over its seven-year history, driven partly by tougher environmental regulations.

The company has about 130 staff and provides a range of services including hydrographic and topographic surveys, marine mammal observations and small boat services.

Its latest published accounts, for the year ending April 30 2009, showed turnover of £9.6m, almost unchanged from the previous year, and profits of £737,910.

Gardline Marine Sciences, based in Endeavour House, Yarmouth, is the world's largest independently-owned survey company.

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