Published: 00:00, 13 March 2003
THE Government has given the green light for a 30-turbine wind farm to be built off Herne Bay and Whitstable.
The announcement was made by energy minister Brian Wilson who said it would bring environmental benefits and job opportunities as well as play an important role in reaching challenging White Paper targets.
The news has been welcomed as "fantastic" by Canterbury City Council leader Cllr Alex Perkins who said it secured the energy future for generations to come and by developers GREP who see it as leading the fight against global warming.
But opposition group SOS Whitstable Windfarms feared it was the thin end of the wedge in the Thames Estuary and said they would take their objections to the top.
Cllr Perkins said: "I hope this will not be just a stand-alone scheme but a whole new improved way of providing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are setting an example to the whole world."
The turbines - the height of the London Eye - will provide half the energy needed to power Herne Bay, Whitstable and Canterbury; they will be built on the Kentish Flats five miles from Whitstable and 8.5 miles from Herne Bay.
GREP will now start the engineering process and aim to begin construction by summer next year at the latest. Power should be coming ashore by the beginning of 2005.