Wind farm spokeswoman Melanie Rogers ended up in the eye of a storm at Whitstable’s area members’ panel on Wednesday.
She had been sent by her Vattenfall bosses to update city and county councillors on the latest news of her company’s plans to extend the Kentish Flats wind farm off Whitstable and Herne Bay.
No sooner had she announced the Government’s Infrastructure Planning Commission had given the Swedish company the go-ahead to submit its plans than councillors launched an attack on her.
County councillor Mike Harrison demanded: “What type of bonding do you have for the decommissioning of these wretched monsters?”
She replied: “I understand there is money put aside to do it properly. You can’t just chop them down.”
Mr Harrison waded back in. He said: “We were told years ago it would be £25,000 each. Is that still enough?”
Then he added: “When plans for the wind farm were first announced we were told the nearest would be 7km from the shore. It turned out that was the distance for the furthest.
“Now we are told the new turbines, which could be one-and-a-half times as large, will be even nearer. I propose you get your project manager here for the next meeting to explain this.”
Miss Rogers replied: “I live here. Vattenfall do listen to residents. But they are also a business and they want to build wind farms.”
Then city councillor Neil Baker entered the fray. He said: “It is generally known that every £2 of renewable energy created actually costs £3. I would rather invest all this money on nuclear fusion, where the only waste is water. I can’t understand this love affair with wind farms.”
City councillor Jenny Samper said: “These things are anchored in concrete – and that is the biggest producer of CO2.”
Chairman Cyril Windsor asked if Vattenfall was going to provide accumulators to save the electricity not needed and said wind farms in Cornwall were to be given to farmers after 20 years. He asked: “Does that mean we are going to get these, too?”
He added: “There are alternatives to wind power. Years ago I had solar panels fitted. My last two quarters’ bills have been under £6.”
City councillor Ashley Clark said: “Love them or hate them, wind farms are here to stay. We really shouldn’t shoot the messenger.”
It was agreed to ask Vattenfall’s project manager to the next area members’ panel meeting on January 11.
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