The Blade, the barriers and why I'm so proud of Hull: Stephen Brady's OWC2018 welcome

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 25 Apr 2018

Hull City Council leader Stephen Brady OBE told of ‘The Blade’ effect as part of the phenomenal City of Culture launch, describing his seat as the green energy city of the UK.

Offshore Wind Connections is gracing Hull for the first time, and Mr Brady gave an insight into the fight to secure manufacturing on the Humber, and his pride at what has been achieved. 

“It is great everybody is brought together and great to welcome you all to this great city,” he said, looking out on more than 250 delegates at Double Tree by Hilton Hull.

“Last year was simply fantastic in this city. The UK City of Culture, we hold that title to 2021, and we have had some startling returns from that.”

He outlined the 2,000 events, the burgeoning visitor numbers, and the highlight:

“The Blade. Six sets of traffic lights and 20 lampposts removed to get it in to Victoria Square,” he said of the work to take the first one off the production line and make it a key exhibit as the nation looked to Hull.  

MORE: Industry pipeline scale highlighted by renewable leader on his return to his teenage stomping ground

“We waited for the reaction from the public,” he said, explaining the pain before the gain. “We had spent £250 million totally renovating the whole of the city centre, we were ‘Barrier City’, there were that many barriers in Hull I don’t think other cities could get hold of them. We did three years’ work in 18 months, completed for the start of 2017.

“When people saw that blade they looked in awe. For many, it will be the only time they will ever see something like that close up. They didn’t want it taking down, it was absolutely incredible.

“More people came to see that turbine blade than anything else. It just goes to show that art is what you make of it.”

And it took some making.

“We worked with Siemens for six years, we had a great relationship and still have,” Cllr Brady said. “The simple thing was, we knew what they wanted. There were intricate negotiations with central government and that’s where difficulties always lay, with policy on green energy for the future.

“Of course, now they are seeing our reasoning, why we fought so hard, because not only has it transformed the city with the huge amount of investment it has put in to the city, but it is the future, with green energy, climate change.

“We are surpassing what nuclear energy can do and the cost of that, and the length of time when it shuts down, the damage in my opinion, that does for the future generation to come.

“The longer it goes on the cheaper that energy coming from those wind turbines will become.” 

MORE: Our guide to Offshore Wind Connections 2018

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