A breakaway barge beached on Redcar’s shore in weekend storms has renewed calls for a rethink into a proposed offshore windfarm.
Redcar protesters Save Our Shoreline (SOS), say the incident, where the barge broke free of its moorings and drifted within metres of the beach, strengthens the case for a judicial review.
The barge, which remained beached today, had been moored as part of an exploratory drill for an off-shore windfarm, which the group formed in 2000 to oppose.
Spokesman for SOS, former chartered engineer Jim Conaghan, said: “We are not against renewable energy but thought one mile was too close and it should have been put about five or six miles out.
“About 14 years ago there was a similar incident where a ship was beached after it broke from its moorings.
“We have always wanted a public inquiry because we do not feel there was enough independence in the decision to install a windfarm and feel we wanted another point of view other than that of the developer, EDF.
“Research by EDF said the incident of a ship being beached would only ever happen once in 100 years.”
He said the group had concerns of the same incident happening to a ship carrying hazardous cargo.
Mr Conaghan, of Aintree Road, Redcar, added: “I know through my work as a chartered engineer for 30 years at ICI the type of assessment that was undertaken in considering transporting hazardous or flammable materials.
“The issue here is probably minor because it wasn’t carrying anything, but it does prove the point that a vessel can be beached a lot more often than once in 100 years.
“I just hope the council succeeds in its endeavours through the judicial review to get this decision overturned.”
A spokesperson from EDF said: “EDF Energy understands that a jack-up barge operated by Glover Site Investigation Limited positioned off the coast near Redcar, came away from its position.
“We are in contact with Glover Site Investigation Limited and continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Redcar and Cleveland Council leader, George Dunning, described the incident as “bizarre” and said he was glad it wasn’t more serious.
He said: “Hopefully this is a one off occurrence and EDF will learn from this mishap.
“The council is going through the process of a judicial review in relation to the siting of 30 wind turbines less than a mile offshore.
“We are in favour of renewable energy but not less than a mile offshore. Hopefully EDF will review the close proximity of these 30 wind turbines.”
by Angela Rainey
4 February 2008
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