The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, has rejected a Development Consent Order application submitted by Vattenfall to extend the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm.
The decision, which had been due yesterday (June 1) has now been announced.
The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) accepted the proposed project for examination in 2018 following 18-months of consultation with residents and businesses by Vattenfall.
The Examining Authority issued a Recommendation Report to the Secretary of State on September 11, 2019. This report recommended that the Secretary of State should withhold consent for the project.
In the Vattenfall application the Swedish energy group proposed to deploy up to 34 wind turbines by 2023 in a development area close to the existing wind farm, 8km off Foreness Point. The scheme would have had a capacity of up to 340MW and would be capable of supplying renewable electricity annually to the equivalent of approximately 282,000 UK homes.
The turbines would have been up to 250 metres tall.
The firm said if Thanet Extension joined its Kent cluster of offshore wind farms it would allow Vattenfall to expand the existing workforce of 75 people currently working from the Ramsgate operations and maintenance base.
In the decision letter it states: “The Secretary of State, in deciding this application in accordance with section
104(3) of the Planning Act 2008 and having carefully considered the responses to his consultation on marine navigation, shipping and ports infrastructure issues, agrees with the recommendation of the ExA that approving this application would not be in accordance with EN-3 policies relevant to shipping, navigation and ports because the
proposed development does not reduce the increased navigational risk to ALARP.
“The Secretary of State has therefore decided to accept the ExA’s recommendation not to make the Order granting development consent. In light of his decision not to grant development consent for the reasons set out above, the Secretary of State notes that there were various other issues considered during the examination of the Application but does not consider it necessary to give these matters further consideration in the context of this decision.”
Danielle Lane, UK Country Manager for Vattenfall, said:“Naturally we’re very disappointed by this decision and will consider how we proceed from here.
“We continue to believe that Thanet Extension would be an important development for the local area, for UK energy security, and for the drive to reduce emissions.”