Lives could be put at risk by a planning application to install wind turbines near the island’s only airfield.
That’s the claim of commercial pilot Mike Loxton who was commenting on the plans for two 120 metre-high turbines at Standford Hill prison in Church Road, Eastchurch.
He says turbulence created by the turbines could prevent aircraft from taking off or landing at the airstrip, also on Church Road, which he has owned for more than 25 years.
He said that the turbines could create turbulence for up to two kilometres, which would affect when the airfield can be used.
He said: “My concerns are the turbulence will impede any aircraft landing or taking off.”
The only airfield on Sheppey is used mainly by microlights, light aircraft and helicopters but also as a base by emergency services.
In November, when both bridges were closed, the Eastchurch airstrip was put on standby as the quickest way on or off the island.
Mr Loxton said: “It is quite important we keep it open in case there is an emergency.
“If there is a severe accident on the island, here becomes the next place if they need to get people off the island.”
Last year, two practice exercises were carried out by emergency services, using Eastchurch as the route to get people off the island to hospital.
Mr Loxton said: “There is quite a lot of work that has gone on in case of an emergency so it is imperative it can be used.
“The last thing we want is to have an emergency and say we cannot fly because of the wind.”
Chief executive officer of the Sheppey prison cluster Brian Pollett backed the wind farm, writing on the UK planning website: “I fully support the proposal as it will generate additional energy with negligible environmental impact.”
Standford Hill Angling Group also has concerns about the turbines, one of which will be less than 100 metres from their lake. The group bought a lake near the prison from the Home Office five years ago and under the terms of the sale, cannot oppose any planning applications on prison land. However, group secretary Robin Peck wrote on the UK planning website that it “will cause some intrusive noise and discomfort as well as blighting the area”.
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