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Wind farm threat to fishing fleet  

Credit:  Canterbury Times, www.thisiskent.co.uk 26 January 2012 ~~

The Kentish Flats wind farm extension will be an “aesthetic disaster”, and is a major threat to Whitstable’s whelk and oyster fishing industry.

The claims were made by Kent County Council members for Whitstable, Cllr Mark Dance and Cllr Mike Harrison at a meeting of the town’s councillors.

They responded to a scheme update given by Vattenfall project manager, Goran Loman.

He told the meeting the wind farm off the coast of Herne Bay and Whitstable needed to be extended closer to shore to protect shipping.

The Secretary of State is expected to rule later this year on the planned extension, which would see another 17 turbines added to the 30 already on the site five miles off shore.

It could generate enough electricity to power 35,000 homes and was announced after bosses decided not to increase the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, already the world’s largest.

Both will be dwarfed by the London Array wind farm in the Thames Estuary, which will have almost 350 turbines and a substation at Graveney, near Faversham, to bring the electricity ashore.

The extension to the Kentish Flats site would be to the south and west of the development, meaning the new turbines would be closer to land at both Herne Bay and Whitstable.

Cllr Dance said: “Having the bigger turbines in front of the existing smaller turbines is a disaster. The shoreline view is really important to us and if you view the wind farm from Herne Bay it is a complete disaster.”

Cllr Mike Harrison agreed and asked to see a list of Whitstable suppliers to the project.

Cllr Harrison said: “We have a very small and diminishing fishing fleet. The Spanish have bought up our cockle licences and we have to look at the impact of the extension on our fishermen. It’s a disaster.”

Cllr Harrison said future generations needed to know redundant turbines would be removed.

Mr Loman said the decommissioning fund would cover the cost of turbine removal through a bond that had been set aside for the project within 25 years.

Cllr Jenny Samper said: “The wind farm is a threat to the beauty of the area. Your company will only ever admit turbines are lovely.”

If consent is given for the extension, work will begin winter 2013 with turbine erection in 2014.

Labour councillor John Wratten said he supported the wind farm.

Source:  Canterbury Times, www.thisiskent.co.uk 26 January 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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