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Arbroath fishermen have claimed a proposed wind farm off the coast of the town could cut through “prime” fishing ground.
The development is just one of a number of projects from three offshore wind companies with plans to place large turbines in the Forth and Tay estuaries.
Forth and Tay Offshore Windfarm Developers Group was set up by the Crown Estate and consists of Seagreen Wind Energy, Mainstream Renewables Power and SeaEnergy Renewables.
Representatives from the group recently held a meeting in Arbroath with local fishermen and members of the Arbroath and District Inshore Static Gear Association, to assess the level of fishing activity in the area and how it could affect progress.
Plans have already been tabled for a wind farm to be built just 25km off the Arbroath coast.
Owners of local creel boats fear the construction phase could cause severe disruption to their daily catch and may see other fishing vessels encroaching onto their patch.
Fishermen’s spokesman Brian Beckett said the meeting had answered some of the questions brought forward by the local skippers.
However he added that there were still several points of concern being discussed in the community.
‘Live with it’
“We had quite a successful meeting with a representative from the wind farm people and a representative from the fisherman’s organisation,” he said. “They explained where the turbines will be going. It is something that is going to happen so we just have to live with it.”
The fishermen have been told that juvenile lobster will be reseeded in the seabed areas that are disrupted by the construction phase.
Mr Beckett added, “Our main concern is that the cables will be coming ashore at Arbroath right through prime fishing ground. There was a lot of technical discussion and they told us the turbines would be sited on the east side of the Bell Rock around 20 miles from Arbroath. There is concern the scallop boats that use the area will have their fishing zone severed off and will be forced in beside the Arbroath boats.”
Seagreen is a joint venture partnership between Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Fluor Limited, the UK operating arm of Fluor Corporation.
The company combines renewables development, asset management and operations experience, with offshore project delivery.
SSE and Fluor jointly developed the 500MW Greater Gabbard Offshore wind farm located off the coast of Suffolk, which is on schedule for completion in 2012. Mainstream Renewables’ core business is to develop and build wind and solar plants both on land and at sea. The company then sells the plant to organisations such as utilities, energy intensive corporations and pension funds after securing land then carrying out wind analysis, environmental studies and other processes.
SeaEnergy works to identify large-scale offshore wind farm development opportunities and builds consortia to own and operate such installations.
The firm provides technical project management and financial expertise for projects, and is in active discussions regarding development opportunities in the UK, EU, North America, and the Far East.
A spokesman from Forth and Tay Offshore Windfarm Developers Group said the discussions had been “positive.”
He added, “The purpose of the meeting was to collect information from fishermen that would contribute to an assessment of fishing activities. Bryan Beckett, chairman of the association, and his members provided valuable information regarding the activities of the local fleet.”
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