The London Array, being developed by a Shell-led consortium, will consist of 341 turbines each of 3-7 MW, five offshore sub-stations and four meteorological masts. They will be located 20km off the Kent and Essex coasts and will occupy an area 232 ha in size stretching between Margate and Clacton.

The £500 million ($1 billion) Thanet wind farm will be located approximately 11.3 km from North Foreland on the Kent coast and its 100 turbines will occupy an area of around 35 ha. The project, led by developer, Warwick Energy, is being fast-tracked for delivery in 2008.

Announcing the consent decisions, secretary of state for trade and industry Alistair Darling commented: “Britain is second only to Denmark in the offshore wind sector and projects such as the London Array, which will be the biggest in the world when completed, and Thanet underline the real progress that is being made.

Environment secretary David Miliband added: “We expect this announcement will be the first of a number of large-scale offshore wind farms in the UK.”

James Smith, chair of Shell UK added that a decision to reform the planning system for major energy infrastructure projects will help ensure a balance is struck between the national interest and local concerns.

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