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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 10:34 GMT
Fear for wind farm impact on port
Ramsgate Royal Harbour
Campaigners are concerned about Ramsgate Royal Harbour
Campaigners fear the impact of plans to use the Port of Ramsgate in Kent as the operating base for the world's largest wind farm in the Thames Estuary.

The government granted permission on Monday for the 341-turbine scheme off the Kent and Essex coasts along with a smaller 100-turbine project off Thanet.

The Ramsgate First group said it was concerned about the effect of the base on residents and visitors to the town.

Thanet District Council said it would not allow any serious disruption.

The 1.5bn London Array project covers 90 sq miles (232 sq km) between Margate, Kent and Clacton, Essex.

We are not Luddites but we want any development in the harbour to be appropriate
Gerry O'Donnell
The 450m Thanet scheme, developed by Warwick Energy, will cover 13.5 sq miles (35 sq km).

Thanet council's chief executive Richard Samuel said London Array and Warwick had studied the east coast from Great Yarmouth to Dover, as well as the French and Belgian coasts, before deciding on Ramsgate.

They proposed to build a 918ft (280m) quay in the commercial port.

There would be no manufacturing activity, but components for the wind turbines would be assembled before being shipped to the construction sites.

The scheme would create 800 jobs.

Listed harbour

Gerry O'Donnell, of Ramsgate First, said it was concerned about the impact on the listed Ramsgate Royal Harbour and marina.

"We welcome any jobs coming to Ramsgate and we are not Luddites but we want any development in the harbour to be appropriate," he said.

"The work will be noisy, dusty and huge and is bound to disrupt the lives of the people living on the West Cliff.

"It might drive away the few visitors we have at the moment, which could expand over the coming years."

He said nearby Port Richborough, built in World War I to supply heavy materials for the British Expeditionary Forces in Flanders, might be a better choice.

Mr Samuel said Port Richborough had not been used for 20 years and was silted up but Mr O'Donnell said it could easily be un-silted.

"We want an impact assessment, to see what the development will look like and how it is going to affect local residents," said Mr O'Donnell.




SEE ALSO
Wind farm ecology work under way
08 Feb 05 |  England
Wind farm inquiry hears evidence
12 Oct 04 |  England

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