Kentish Flats offshore wind farm extension gains consent

This will generate extra clean energy to power between 20,000 and 35,000 UK households every year.

Peterborough, 20 March 2013 – Development consent has been awarded for an extension to the existing Kentish Flats offshore wind farm by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The Kentish Flats extension scheme was the first offshore wind farm to follow the new regulatory process resulting from the Planning Act 2008, and to be consented through it.

The Kentish Flats offshore wind farm is operated by Vattenfall, one of Europe's largest generators of electricity and heat. The 90MW wind farm lies off the north coast of Kent and has been operational since 2005. The extension will include up to 17 new turbines, extending the wind farm's existing capacity to 141MW. This will generate extra clean energy to power between 20,000 and 35,000 UK households every year.

Royal HaskoningDHV has been working with Vattenfall on the environmental and consenting aspects of the project since 2009, first undertaking a feasibility study to assess potentially extending the existing wind farm. The team managed the project from the scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) stages, through to the submission of the Development Consent Order in October 2011 and the subsequent examination process.

Paolo Pizzolla, EIA Manager, Royal HaskoningDHV said: "As the first wind farm project to go through the new consenting system this was in many ways a pilot project for all parties, Vattenfall, the Planning Inspectorate and stakeholders, to see how the new system would work in practice.

"As well as being more flexible, the new consenting system also improves the planning process by 'front loading' project consultation. This enables stakeholders to assist in refining projects to ensure their concerns are taken into account before formal development applications are made.

"Royal HaskoningDHV assisted Vattenfall in responding to the Planning Inspectorate's questions, coordinating discussions with stakeholders and providing expert opinion for public hearings. The project benefited from a real ‘one-team' approach.

"Navigating the new planning process so successfully will carve a path for other wind and renewable energy projects to do the same. As well as creating clean energy for future generations, renewable energy generates major investment for the economy."

Goran Loman, Project Manager for the Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm Extension, Vattenfall said: "We are delighted to have received consent for the extension project. Royal HaskoningDHV has played a key role in supporting us through extensive discussions and consultation with the local community, local authorities and statutory organisations. The team also provided invaluable support throughout the EIA process, which focussed on potential impacts upon fisheries and ornithology."

Alistair Davison, Offshore Renewables Director, Royal HaskoningDHV, commented: "Royal HaskoningDHV congratulates Vattenfall on achieving this consenting first and look forward to working with them through the next stages of the project. This is great news for Royal HaskoningDHV too as it is the second offshore wind farm we have helped consent in the last year, coming on the back of the decision to consent Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm in July 2012."

Following on from the consenting process, Vattenfall will now undertake detailed design work and further environmental baseline studies in preparation for construction which is expected to commence in 2015.

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