Development consent has been awarded for an extension to the existing Kentish Flats offshore wind farm off southern England.

Development consent has been awarded for an extension to the existing Kentish Flats offshore wind farm off southern England by the UK’s secretary of state for Energy and Climate Change. The Kentish Flats extension scheme was the first offshore wind farm to follow the new regulatory process resulting from the Planning Act 2008, and to be consented through it.    

The 90 MW wind farm is operated by Vattenfall, one of Europe’s largest generators of electricity and heat. It lies off the north coast of Kent and has been operational since 2005. The extension will include up to 17 new turbines, extending the wind farm’s existing capacity to 141 MW.

Royal HaskoningDHV has been working with Vattenfall on the environmental and consenting aspects of the project since 2009, first undertaking a feasibility study to assess potentially extending the existing wind farm. Paolo Pizzolla, Royal HaskoningDHV’s EIA manager, said: "As the first wind farm project to go through the new consenting system this was in many ways a pilot project for all parties, Vattenfall, the Planning Inspectorate and stakeholders, to see how the new system would work in practice.

"As well as being more flexible, the new consenting system also improves the planning process by ‘front loading’ project consultation. This enables stakeholders to assist in refining projects to ensure their concerns are taken into account before formal development applications are made.

Following on from the consenting process, Vattenfall will now undertake detailed design work and further environmental baseline studies in preparation for construction, expected to commence in 2015.