A windfarm three miles off Fleetwood will be a major hazard for trawlermen, an industry leader has warned.
Environmental concerns have led to the plan for the windfarm being shifted from a spot five miles off Blackpool to just three miles off Fleetwood.
Consisting of up to 90 turbines, it would interfere with a traditional fishing ground and could also be a hazard for men trying to navigate in small inshore fishing boats, it was claimed today.
Chairman of Fleetwood Fishermen’s Association Steve Welsh said: “One of our main concerns is the safety aspect because if there was a breakdown and someone drifted in there I don’t know what would happen because helicopter access is restricted.
“Something needs to be done before someone is drowned.
“Inevitably there will be a disaster.
“If it doesn’t happen soon it will happen later, the law of averages tells you that.
“Then we will be having a major inquiry about what happened.
“The safety issues with windfarms are frightening.”
He said that people did not appreciate the difficulties of handling a small boat in difficult conditions when strong tides were running.
He added that the presence of the wind farm on the Shell Flat fishing ground could even drive fishermen out of business.
They were talking to the developers about possible compensation but he said: “We don’t want compensation – we want to carry on fishing.
“This would take an important part of our fishing.
“We have already lost some to wind farms, how much more can we lose before we go out of business?
“The boats are a way of life for people and there are 20-odd boats and about 50 men affected.”
He said the association had already lodged a formal objection to the windfarm which will take about 12 months to be considered by the Department of Trade and Industry.
A spokesman for Scottish Power, which is a partner in the windfarm, said: “Safety is of primary concern of the developers, both for the construction workers and fishermen.
“Safety of those concerned is a key part of the planning application and it is something that will continue to be addressed.”
Submissions by the developers claim that while fish may be displaced during the two-year construction, the windfarm could eventually be a refuge for young fish giving them a better chance to mature.
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