Jones Bros reaches top gear to hit major Morlais milestone ahead of schedule

A leading civil engineering firm has hit a major milestone on a £36 million tidal energy development three months ahead of schedule.

Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK secured the main contract worth £24.6 million to build the onshore infrastructure for Anglesey marine energy project Morlais, which has the potential generating capacity of 240MW – enough to power around 180,000 typical households.

Activity includes constructing the landfall substation on Holy Island as well as the cabling works which will connect the scheme to the National Grid.

The project, led by fellow North Wales-based organisation Menter Môn, has rapidly progressed with the carriageway works near Parc Cybi and South Stack Road now completed, and all traffic lights removed in time for the holidays.

Starting onsite in March 2022, the Ruthin-headquartered civil engineering firm has laid 6.4km of trefoil cable and ducting, 4.2km of which is within the highway.

Jones Bros senior contracts manager Brendan Fieldhouse, who is overseeing the scheme, said: “It’s testament to how efficiently the group worked that we’ve been able to finish the work more than 12 weeks early.

“We have a highly skilled team working on the project and the effort and endeavour of each member has not gone unnoticed.

“Completing this section of the scheme ahead of time means all our focus can be on finishing the landfall substation.”

At the height of the cable installation there were three apprentices honing their skills on the scheme.

There are currently around 20 Jones Bros staff working on the construction of the remaining infrastructure, which is pencilled in to be concluded by November 2023.

Jones Bros will be hoping for a complication free finish to the project, which ran into a hurdle early on.

In January 2022, the team were told that two 3km areas were out of bounds during chough breeding season, which typically runs from late March to the end of July.

Brendan continued: “Protecting the environment we work in is of great importance to us, so plans were amended to suit the chough breeding season.

“We quickly adapted to work on either end of the project, which were outside of the at-risk areas.

“This helped ensure the project has run as seamlessly as possible.”

Jones Bros has also been able to utilise local suppliers and subcontractors with more than 20 North Wales-based companies playing a part in the scheme to date.

Nine of those are located on Anglesey, with Brendan adding: “Supporting local business is always towards the top of our list of priorities, and it has been great to give something back to those near to the project.”

Gerallt Llewelyn Jones, director with Morlais, added: “It’s a pleasure to be working with Jones Bros on Morlais. The team is professional and dedicated and have delivered on time, helping us overcome some challenges along the way.

“Ensuring Morlais brings local benefit has been a key aim for us from the outset and getting a North Wales-based contractor was an important part of this.

“Jones Bros recruits a local workforce and has provided chances for apprentices from Anglesey, which means we can deliver on some of our early commitments of creating employment and training opportunities in our communities.”

Established in the 1950s, Jones Bros owns one of the largest plant fleets in the UK and employs approximately 500 people.

The company is currently working on contracts in various sectors including highways, flood and marine defence, waste management and renewable energy around the UK.

The company runs an award-winning apprenticeship scheme, which has produced nearly 40 per cent of its current workforce, with many of its senior managers having started out as apprentices or in a trainee role. It has recruited more than 100 apprentices during the past three years.