Thanet Extension Offshore Wind Farm

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Thanet Extension Offshore Wind Farm

Received 28 August 2018
From London Gateway Port Limited

Representation

We have significant concerns regarding implications of the proposed Thanet Extension Offshore Wind Farm on shipping and accessibility to ports located on the Thames Estuary. In particular we are concerned regarding:

• Encroachment into existing shipping lanes with resulting increases in commercial shipping journey times and distances and overall port accessibility
• Implications for larger vessels wishing to access the NE Split pilot barding station, which we understand would offer significantly restricted access should the development proposals go ahead. This would have the effect of lengthening pilotage distances and making piloting operations less resilient to adverse weather conditions

In citing the above concerns we make reference to the National Policy Statement for Ports (January 2012) which we believe is a material consideration in assessing the implications of the proposed development. In this regard we note that the Ports NPS:

a) Defines a need for unimpeded access to ports with water deep enough for the largest ships in order to meet the forecast demand for additional port capacity (as defined in Paragraph 3.4.3)
b) Confirms that ports play a vital role in support of the national and regional economy, trade and growth
c) Identifies that “currently, the largest container and ro-ro terminals are in the South East” and that “much of the tonnage handled is concentrated in a small number of ports, with the top 15 ports accounting for almost 80% of the UK’s total trade”
d) Identifies a need for ports to be efficient and competitive to enable them to contribute to long term economic growth and prosperity

We take the opportunity to highlight that 2 of the top 15 ports in the U.K are located on the banks of the Thames Estuary and that, in 2016, Thames Estuary ports handle 10.7% of the total U.K throughput of goods (in tonnes – www.Gov.uk, Port Freight Statistics).

We are therefore of the view that the need to support increased energy production from sustainable low carbon sources is balanced against the need to support shipping and port activities.

We have examined the evidence submitted in support of the application including the Shipping and Navigation Report (Ref: 6.10.2), Pilotage Transfer Bridge Simulation Report (Ref: 6.4.10.2) and Navigation Document (Ref 1.4). Our examination of these documents has identified significant shortfalls in assessment methodology particularly with regard to proposed alternative pilotage operations, vessel management and navigation risks. Such matters require further scrutiny and consideration to allow the full impacts to be understood.