It requires taller turbines, deploying the latest technology, and also making sure environmental and local impacts are minimised by working with local stakeholders to find good solutions to the potentially big challenges.
Finding the right balance across the very many topics and issues that need consideration is complex. We receive a huge variety of inputs – engineering reports, environmental surveys, as well as feedback from stakeholders explaining the do’s and don’ts that they’d like us to prioritise.
The big test
At the community consultation we really start to see if we’re on the right track with the project. After months of preparation, newsletters to 88,000 homes, and 15 local events, we were grateful to every resident who came along to a local event or stopped to talk to us at a pop up in shopping centres and supermarkets across the area.
We heard lots of different views, good ideas and plenty of very constructive feedback that can help to make Thanet Extension a really positive investment locally.
Jobs and education
Many who came along did not know that a local workforce has been built up over the last eight years in Ramsgate and wanted to know more of how we plan to develop the supply chain, jobs and education opportunities that the project can create.
Raising awareness of the employment potential in the area.
Enhancing the area for recreation and visitors
The area is home to many renewable energy projects and is a major tourist destination. This was outlined by many as an opportunity to explore - let’s tell the story of the area as a green destination so that visitors can engage with and experience the wind farms. We’ve already started exploring what’s possible, so watch this space.
Answering specific questions
There are areas of interest where more information needs to be provided by us, ranging from very specific things like confirming species covered by our bird studies, through to broader like explaining how we will minimise impacts on local paths and cycle routes during construction. Once the Environmental Statement is completed we’ll be making sure we provide this information.
We’ll be taking on board this feedback alongside the results of technical and environmental studies as we work towards finalising an application ready for submission in the Summer.
The hugely successful Coast Explorer project for local primary schools will run again this year, and we have been attending local careers days to raise awareness of future opportunities. Our skills and supply chain work will really start to take shape later this year, and we’re planning meetings with local organisations and networks in the coming weeks to talk through our plans. We’ll also be at Kent Vision Live again this year.
Melanie Rogers, Local Liaison Officer leading a Coast Explorer session.
We’re also beginning some discussions to see how we can develop the tourism and recreation opportunities that the public raised with us. Discussions of course also continue with some important local interest groups. Thank you to everyone who took part.
Download the full Statutory Consultation Feedback Report here.