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Hitch holds up wind farm assembly

A technical hitch has delayed the start of work to assemble the first of 26 wind turbines on marshland on the Kent-Sussex border.

A problem with the giant crane which will lift the components into place on Romney Marsh meant work was delayed for 24 hours until Tuesday morning.

Over the last fortnight, 78 lorries have carried the propeller blades across Kent from Chatham Dockyard.

The wind farm, at Walland Marsh, is being built by Npower Renewables.

“We should expect to see two turbines go up every week and we should be finished by the end of September,” said spokesman Simon Holt.

“When the turbine components arrive on site it is a relatively straightforward operation to put them all together.”

Permission for the £60m wind farm, at Little Cheyne Court, was given by the government in 2005 following a public inquiry.

The proposal had met widespread opposition from residents and councils in Kent and East Sussex.

Each turbine, manufactured in Germany, will be 115m (492ft) high to the tip of the rotor blade.

Once operational early next year, they will generate enough electricity to power 33,000 homes.

Friends of the Earth spokesman Nick Rau said: “Every renewables project has to be assessed on its merits and a balanced decision taken.

“We wouldn’t welcome all wind farms, but renewable energy is absolutely essential if we are going to tackle climate change.”

Rosemary Cook, a member of Romney Marsh Wind Farm Action Group, which opposed the development, admitted she was interested to see it get under way.

“It is quite exciting, I suppose, to see all this enormous stuff coming in and I don’t think there has been very much disruption,” she said,

“But I still think we will wake up in five years’ time and realise it has all been unnecessary.”

BBC News

16 June 2008