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Consultation into windfarm extension nears conclusion

The public consultation period on the proposed extension of the Kentish Flats wind farm is coming to an end this week.

Vattenfall, the company looking to build 17 new wind turbines in the Thames Estuary, off the coast of Whitstable, has for the last five weeks sought the views of hundreds of people who may be affected by the controversial development.

If given planning permission for the extension to the existing 30-turbine farm, an area of eight square kilometres more than seven kilometres off shore would be developed, although a decision is likely to be more than a year away.

Vattenfall spokesman Jason Ormiston said: “The decision is in the hands of the Infrastructure Planning Commission, and they have said that once they receive a planning application they will try to make a decision within 12 months.”

Some of the key issues that the public consultation has raised are the potential effect on Red-throated divers, the visual impact of additional turbines, how business and leisure industries will be affected, and the impact the construction work and traffic will have on the surrounding area.

Mr Ormiston said: “We have conducted several environmental studies and they have shown there will be no significant impact.

“Any impacts that there may be have been detailed and they will be worked through in the final submission.”

In October last year Vattenfall confirmed its plans to extend the Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm with a potential 51 megawatts (MW) of capacity in addition to the current 90MW.

If 51MW are built, Vattenfall expects the extension to generate just over 150,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of green electricity every year, which is equivalent to the total annual electricity needs of up to 35,000 UK households.

The consultation ends on Thursday (March 4).