A fisherman has spoken of his fears for the industry after plans for the world’s largest wind farm off the coast of Essex were approved.
The London Array wind farm will take up 90 square miles, 12 miles out to sea, between Clacton and Margate in Kent.
It was given the green light by the Department of Trade and Industry yesterday.
The £1.5 billion, 1,000 megawatt project, run by a consortium of Shell WindEnergy Ltd, E.On UK Renewables and Core Ltd, will consist of 341 turbines.
Clive Mills, vice chairman of Mersea Fishermans’ Association, said last night that his group would prefer the London Array not to go ahead.
“It is going to be smack bang in the middle of our ground and it is a massive area – it is all where we go,” said Mr Mills, who has been a fisherman for 28 years.
“It is going to have a massive impact on our ability to earn. The fishing industry did not have a say to stop it, and would prefer not to have it.”
The London Array consortium claims the wind farm will avoid emissions of up to 1.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and could make up to 10% of the UK Government’s 2010 renewables targets.
The Government wants to produce 10% of Britain’s electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and it has a target of 20% by 2020.
A second wind farm, also off the coast of Kent, was also given the go-ahead. The Thanet wind farm will be 7 miles from North Foreland on the Kent coast and will contain 100 turbines, occupying 13.5 square miles.
The combined might of both wind farms will be enough to power a third of London’s three million households, or the combined households of Kent and Sussex.
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, said: “It is a significant step forward in providing a greener and clean source of power.
“Britain is second only to Denmark in the offshore wind sector and projects such as the London Array, which will be the biggest in the world when completed, and Thanet underline the real progress that is being made.
“Achieving rapid growth in offshore renewables is essential if we are to reduce carbon emissions and improve the security of our energy supplies.”
Speaking about the London Array, James Smith, chair of Shell UK, said: “We’re delighted to have received the DTI’s consent.”
A Greenpeace spokesman said: “This is one of the most important decisions concerning renewable energy that the Government has had to take.
“This is clean energy on a massive scale and we have been waiting too long. It’s a pioneering project and we need more of them.”
James Abbott, Essex Green Party Co-ordinator said: “The Green Party welcomes the announcement for a major wind power project off the Essex and Kent coasts.
“Offshore wind has far fewer environmental problems than large onshore schemes and is more efficient.”
A date for the construction of the London Array wind farm is unlikely to be set until the outcome of a planning inquiry concerning the project’s proposed electricity substation is known.
By Annie Davidson
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