The Dogger Bank Teesside A and B project will involve the construction of 400 offshore turbines

Approval paves way for world's largest offshore wind farm

The second half of the world's biggest offshore wind farm, which will be built in the North Sea, has received planning consent from the Government.

The Dogger Bank Teesside A and B project proposed by the Forewind consortium of SSE, RWE, Statkraft and Statoil would see as many as 400 turbines built around 100 miles off England's North East coast, with the potential to power roughly two million homes.

The Government granted a similar sized scheme, also at Dogger Bank, planning consent in February, and combined, the two adjacent projects would be the world's biggest offshore wind farm.

Forewind general manager, Tarald Gjerde said: "It represents a real opportunity for the UK to receive even more of its energy from its abundant wind resource while creating significant economic benefits, particularly for the north eastern regions."

The development would include onshore elements in Redcar and Cleveland, near Middlesbrough, and Forewind said the Teesside A and B projects could create 4,750 direct and indirect jobs, generating £1.5bn for the UK economy.

On top of the turbines, the project could see eight collector platforms built, four accommodation or helicopter platforms, 10 weather stations and two converter stations.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Bourne said: "As we build the Northern Powerhouse, we want local communities to reap the benefits of investment and green jobs from low carbon developments like Dogger Bank Offshore wind project."

The location was chosen due to seabed conditions and wind speed as well as shallow waters that make it ideally suited to power generation, the consortium said, and electricity will be brought via up to two sets of export cables to a landing point between Redcar and Marske-by-the-Sea before being fed into the National Grid.

RenewableUK, which represents the renewable energy industry, said the development would cover an area of seabed of around 600 square km.

Its chief executive, Maria McCaffery said: "This awe-inspiring offshore wind project has taken another significant step forward. The sheer size of Dogger Bank illustrates just how large the environmental and economic opportunities are in the North Sea for the UK's world-leading offshore wind industry."

Dogger Bank, a large area of sand banks, is an important site for plaice and sand eel fishing and is a marine protected area and a senior figure in the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) said trawlermen have expressed concerns about how their industry will be able to work alongside these huge wind farms.

NFFO assistant chief executive Dale Rodmell said: "Our main concern is ensuring as far as possible that fisheries can co-exist with wind farm sites. There is a large degree of uncertainty and we have very little experience as the UK is leading the world to drive the offshore wind industry."

Although in theory fishing between turbines would be allowed, Mr Rodmell said, in practice concerns over the spacing between them and nets snagging on cables could rule it out.

A Forewind spokeswoman said environmental assessments had been carried out by the developers, and measures would be taken to mitigate any impact. She said the Secretary of State would have taken those concerns into consideration before granting planning consent.

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