Go-ahead for first wind farm in congested south-east

Building permission has been granted for construction of the first wind farm in the congested south-east of England. Energy minister Malcolm Wicks granted consent for Npower renewables' 78 MW project at Little Cheyne Court on Walland Marsh in Kent. The minister announced his decision last month at the British Wind Energy Association conference in Cardiff. The consent comes after a public inquiry was held into the plans last year. The inquiry concluded that the 26-turbine project is consistent with government policies on energy and environment. Npower's Martin Marais claims the project, which has been five years in development, commands wide support locally. Unusual for any wind farm project in Britain, letters in support outnumbered letters of objection during the planning phase. The wind farm will be located in the constituency of former Conservative party leader Michael Howard, who gave evidence against the project at the public inquiry.