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HiDef has global aspects firmly in its sights.

A COMPANY in Cumbria has been awarded a large contract by the Crown Estates to conduct pioneering aerial surveys over sites earmarked for huge offshore wind farms.

HiDef Aerial Surveying Limited (HiDef) will use the groundbreaking technology it has developed to catalogue bird and sea mammal activity across 38,000 square kilometres of sea and continental shelf.

Its cameras operate at five times the resolution of high-definition TV cameras and can record every aspect of marine wildlife, going as far as sex and size, from 2,000ft.

The service provided by HiDef has been developed in collaboration with award-winning aerial filming company Wildcat Flying, which was a key contributor to the BBC series Planet Earth. Whitehaven-based HiDef is creating 20 new jobs immediately but expects the number to increase to 70 over the coming two years.

The business is already looking at further expansion after receiving enquiries from businesses in the United States, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Germany and Belgium. It is also actively looking at opportunities in China after the country recently announced plans to build some of the world's largest offshore wind farms.

The Crown Estates contract and subsequent interest is a major coup for HiDef - a business spawned from nuclear technology specialists REACT Engineering three years ago.

Mark Robinson, business manager at HiDef said: "No other business in the world can offer the services we provide and we are delighted to be leading the way from the heart of Britain's Energy Coast - an area where a number of ambitious and exciting energy developments are taking shape.

"The expansion of the renewable energy market offers HiDef many commercial opportunities. Our sophisticated technology has uses beyond environmental impact surveys and could be used in maintenance applications; inspecting both on and off-shore turbines; and for proposed developments such as renewed grid connections - issues which are prevalent not just in West Cumbria but around the world.

"Our sights are now firmly focused on how this unique service can help tackle the burgeoning global markets."

HiDef has recently submitted a bid for EU funding, which if successful could see its team based at Westlakes Science and Technology Park working with scientists at Oxford University.

The early success of HiDef has been hailed by partners delivering the Britain's Energy Coast initiative - which could see Furness and West Cumbria provide approximately 25% of Britain's energy needs, creating 16,000 jobs and boosting the sub-region's economic performance by pounds 800m each year.

Rosie Mathisen, energy opportunities director at West Cumbria Vision, said: "It is great to see a home-grown company leading the way in what will be a vitally important industry as the world tackles the challenges of climate change and energy security."


IN THE FRAME A demonstration survey flight over South Georgia.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 15, 2009
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