Activists slam wind farm extension plans

Reporter:

Helen Davies

PLANS to extend an offshore wind farm have been slammed by activists who say it would blight Flintshire’s coastline.

The proposal is being put forward by DONG Energy, who hope to extend the Burbo Bank wind farm off the North Wales coast.

But activists have branded it a “crazy scheme” which could see turbines higher than Blackpool Tower.

In a two-page public notice in yesterday’s Leader, DONG Energy said it was in the “early stages” of submitting an extension to their existing wind farm.

The current site is already visible from the Flintshire coastline and anti-wind farm campaigners fear larger turbines will be used in the extension, which will make their impact more prominent.

Mike Pritchard, secretary of Save our Scenery, said: “The eventual situation will be the whole of the North Wales coastline will be plagued with these turbines.

“We always suspected there would be more and more applications. We still think this is a crazy scheme and to start extending these wind farms will be totally against the feelings of the general public.”

He added: “We feel enough is enough, this will spoil the whole coastline. North Wales is dependant on tourism. We can already see Burbo Bank all along the Flintshire coastline.”

The plans include turbines up to 7.5MW capacity, a size which Mr Pritchard believes would require “huge” turbines.

“We’re talking turbines that could be higher than Blackpool Tower,” he said.

But Whitford councillor Chris Dolphin, who can see the current wind farm from his home in Carmel, said his concern would be with the ecological rather than visual impact of the extension.

“It’s not that far from the Dee Estuary and Hilbre Island,” he said. “I think they need to consult environment groups, particularly bird groups.

“As long as the ecological side of it is looked at I don’t particularly have a problem with it.”

The extension project would have a capacity of more than 100MW and is classed as a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’.

Together with the existing turbines, this will mean the farm could generate around 250Mw of electricity, roughly enough to power 170,000 homes.

It would consist of “a number of wind turbines, an offshore substation, offshore and onshore cables, and an onshore substation”.

The company say they want to hear the views of the public on their proposals and will take into account any “environmental, social and economic advantages and disadvantages that might arise as a result of the construction and operational phases of the proposed wind farm”.

The deadline for submitting comments about the initial proposals will be July 15.
For more information go to www.burbobankextension.co.uk.

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