UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Andrea Leadsom has requested further information and comment from Vattenfall Wind Power Limited, interested parties and other parties on the Thanet Extension offshore windfarm
The Secretary of State will set a new deadline for a decision about whether the project will go ahead, and a statement confirming the new deadline will be made to the House of Commons and House of Lords in accordance with section 107(7) of the Planning Act 2008 as soon as possible once Parliament is in session after the forthcoming general election on 12 December 2019.
Thanet Extension was one of the projects for which The Crown Estate completed an initial assessment in October 2018.
Vattenfall has developed a proposal for an extension to the existing Thanet offshore windfarm that would involve adding up to 34 turbines on the edges of the existing windfarm. This would add approximately 340 MW of capacity to the windfarm, depending on which turbines are used. Turbines of 10-12 MW were used as assumptions for the environmental impact assessment.
Among the issues the Secretary of State has requested more information about are the extension’s impact on shipping, navigation and port infrastructure. A navigation simulation report was submitted after concerns were expressed about whether there is sufficient sea room in the vicinity of the proposed development to enable marine navigation and pilotage to continue safely.
Other concerns include a compulsory acquisition and an objection to the compulsory acquisition powers sought by the applicant in respect of land owned by the National Trust. The draft development consent order also authorises the compulsory acquisition of land in the ownership of Ramac Holdings. Vattenfall and Ramac were in the process of negotiating an option agreement which was not finalised by the end of the examination of the project, and Ramac’s objection to the development consent order has therefore not been withdrawn.
The Secretary of State was also made aware of the concerns raised by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) regarding the impact of construction noise on herring and sole spawning grounds and that an agreement between the applicant and the MMO had not been reached by the end of the examination.
The deadline for a response is 13 December 2019.