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MP’s fears over wind farm plan

Redundant wind turbines would destroy coastal views and harm the area’s economy because there are no plans to dispose of them at the end of their working life, an MP has claimed.

Julian Brazier, MP For Canterbury and Whitstable, is challenging Vattenfall’s controversial scheme to extend the Kentish Flats wind farm off Herne Bay and Whitstable.

He has voiced his fears to energy minister Charles Hendry.

Mr Brazier says increasing the existing 30 turbines by up to 17 will have a “negative” effect on coastal towns.

He said: “The turbines are visually intrusive on otherwise beautiful views.

“I understand that Vattenfall do not have plans for when the turbines become obsolete as there is no decommissioning programme. This raises the spectre of a coastline dominated by rusting hulks.”

Mr Brazier claims the extension – which will be closer to the shore – will threaten fishing.

He added: “The yachting community is also concerned that two new rows of turbines on the western edge of the wind farm will close off a major crossing route for small vessels accessing the north Kent coast.

“It would be better to move the turbines further out to sea, perhaps as a larger group, which is more economical and would still achieve satisfactory electrical generation to serve the National Grid.”

A spokesman for Vattenfall said: “We will look very carefully at Mr Brazier’s objection, as we do with all comments on our proposal to extend Kentish Flats offshore wind farm.”

He said a decommissioning plan would be prepared and agreed with the Crown Estate and Secretary of State. The company says a financial guarantee is already in place which covers the cost of decommissioning.