Kent Wildlife Trust has outlined environmental concerns about a proposed extension to the Thanet offshore wind farm at a Planning Inspectorate hearing.
The application, which was submitted by Vattenfall last year, includes plans to run a cable through Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve.
According to the conservation charity, ''the land affected by this cable has several environmental designations which mark it out as an important area for local wildlife,'' and there are concerns that ''the developer has not taken reasonable steps to minimise environmental damage.''
“We are very concerned about the negative impacts of running this cable through an area which is of considerable importance to wildlife, both locally and nationally.'' Julia Hunt, Head of Conservation Policy & Advocacy for Kent Wildlife Trust, said.
“Wind and other renewable energy sources play an important role in turning the tide on climate change. But these developments must be delivered in a way that is truly sustainable for the environment. We believe this application has not been properly thought through to minimise environmental impacts and we are putting these concerns to the Planning Inspectorate.''
Between now and June, the Planning Inspectorate will hear evidence to inform their decisions about the development. The final decision on the development is due in June.
“Whatever the outcome of the application, we will continue to work with the developer and others to secure the best possible outcome for the site and the wider environment,” Hunt said.
The proposed Thanet Extension wind farm will consist of up to 34 turbines located 8km offshore Kent, potentially doubling the output of the existing 300MW Thanet offshore wind farm.
The Secretary of State is expected to decide on the application by mid-2019.