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 12 September 2018
From The National Trust

Representation

The National Trust is a leading conservation charity with over 4 million members, which has a statutory duty ‘to promote the permanent preservation of places of historic interest and natural beauty, and their enjoyment by the public, for benefit of the nation, forever, for everyone”.

The National Trust does not consider that para 2.6.81 of the Renewable Energy Infrastructure (NPS EN-3) statement has been adequately addressed. It is considered that the explanation for the choice of cable landfall across the Pegwell Bay inter-tidal mud flats (owned by the National Trust) is insufficient.

The National Trust supports the objection of the Kent Wildlife Trust (who lease and manage the on shore areas owned by the National Trust) as follows;
“Alternative routes with less of an impact on designated areas have not been adequately assessed. KWT has repeatedly requested the evidence behind the claim made by the applicant that there is ecological parity between the chosen landfall (Pegwell Bay) and other potential (since discounted) landfall options. Without this we cannot accept arguments of parity since the original options show high-levels of variability in areas of designated onshore and inter-tidal habitats affected.”

Para 4.2.8. of the Environmental Statement Volume 1 Chapter 4: Site Selection and Alternatives notes that;
“….. (NPS EN-3) states at paragraph 2.6.81 that the applicant should include an assessment of the effects of installing cable across the intertidal zone which should include information, where relevant, about:
“any alternative landfall sites that have been considered by the applicant during the design phase and an explanation for the final choice”

Our issue relates to the screening out of the Joss Bay route options 1 & 2 at the initial options appraisal stage. Para 4.8.15 notes the impact of the landfall at Joss Bay on the chalk habitats, but the stated reason in the summary of initial appraisal (table 4.6) is that;
“Landfall through hard ground present representing significant challenge to offshore burial that it was not considered could be overcome with appropriate engineering solutions. Onshore route generally acceptable with land use considerations/agricultural land being primary issue.”

Requests for further information in support of the screening out of Joss Bay have not provided any additional detail about the impacts on the chalk habitats or the engineering solutions required to overcome the ‘hard ground’ challenge. As the initial assessment accepted that the route was otherwise viable, this information is significant in the screening out of this option.

Given the lack of this information regarding the screening out of the Joss Bay options relating to the inter tidal route at Pegwell Bay and the mixed information provided in the summary, the National Trust is unable to assess the planning balance made in the selection of the Pegwell Bay chosen route over the rejected Joss Bay route. The National Trust maintains its objection to the site selection process and the inadequacy of the level of information given in the Environmental Statement to justify the option chosen.