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Wind farm sub station campaigners say the fight goes on

An artist's impression of the electricity sub station proposed for Graveney
An artist's impression of the electricity sub station proposed for Graveney

Campaigners against a massive electricity sub station in Graveney say their fight was not in vain despite the go-ahead being given to the world’s biggest off-shore wind farm in the Thames Estuary.

London Array will put up more than 300 turbines generating enough electricity for around 750,000 homes - but it is the location of the substation on open marshland which has angered villagers.

Chairman of the Graveney Rural Environmental Action Team (GREAT) which fought a public inquiry against the building, Tim Baldwin, said: “The writing was really on the wall when the Government announced in the budget that it wanted an increase in renewable energy.

Campaigner Tim Baldwin
Campaigner Tim Baldwin

“Of course, we are very disappointed but our efforts have at least been able to influence the design of the sub-station which would have been far less sympathetic without our input.

“GREAT was never against the wind farm itself but I think the project’s green credentials have been severely dented by the location of this building.

“There were possible alternative locations for it, but I think it just came down to cost and Cleve Hill was closer and cheaper.”

He added: “I still think the group’s efforts made a difference and they found us a force to be reckoned with.

"But we will still have a role on the liaison committee to work with London Array.”

Work on the £2.2 billion scheme is expected to start this summer and the company says it will start generating power in 2012.

The wind farm, which is being built in two phases, will be 12 miles off the north Kent coast and cover 90 square miles.

The company and the Government claim it will also provide a big boost to employment in the area, creating scores of jobs.

But the decision has disappointed Graveney Parish Council whose chairman, Clare Boggia, said: “There is no doubt that it will have considerable impact but we have to continue to work to mitigate the affect.”

There will be some benefits to the community through financial compensation funding from the company which is being administered through a trust set up by the parish council.

Faversham MP, Hugh Robertson, said: “I have never supported this scheme because it requires the building of a huge electricity substation right in the middle of the last remaining stretch of open marshland on the north Kent coast.

“However, with this week’s announcement, sadly the projects seems to be going ahead.

“The key thing now is to make sure the village of Graveney and the Faversham area get some genuine community benefits in exchange for the loss of our open countryside.”

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